Jo Malone reveals the unexpected effect breast cancer had on her life

Jo Malone reveals the unexpected effect breast cancer

Appearing on Loose Women in March 2019, legendary businesswoman Jo Malone spoke about the effect breast cancer had on her life.

The perfumer, and founder of the hugely popular scent brand, was diagnosed with the disease in 2003.

Speaking on the ITV panel show, she confessed that her life changed dramatically when she given her diagnosis, which came three years after she sold her eponymous business.

Jo revealed that as she is dyslexic, her sense of smell is much stronger than her other senses.

She told the panellists, "I’m dyslexic, so my senses are all really muddled. I smell scents before I see colours.”

But she went on to explain that as a result of her breast cancer treatment, she actually lost her sense of smell - something she felt defined her as a person.

Jo explained, “Three years [after], I was diagnosed with breast cancer. So my whole world changed very dramatically in a very short space of time.

“When I’d come through all this pioneering treatment, I was a very different person. And, I’d lost my sense of smell.”

"I was one of the first women to take chemotherapy every five days, I was given a very grim diagnosis," she explained.

“It took my sense of smell and I thought it had gone forever. And then after I quit Jo Malone and walked away, it then came back eight weeks later. I mean, how cruel is that?”

Jo went on to reveal what a "terrible" loss it was at the time, given that her sense of smell defined how she "saw the world".

She explained, “It was terrible, because it was my means of communication, it’s how I saw the world. It was like my best friend. All I could smell was a strong metal smell.”

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Jo went on to tell the audience that thankfully, her sense of smell is back now.

She said, “But, look at me know, I’m living the best of my life that I possibly could, I don’t regret anything. And that sense of smell has come back differently, and I can smell things I never did before.”

In 1999, Jo sold the brand that holds her name to Estee Lauder for "undisclosed millions". She has since gone on to found the fragrance brand Jo Loves, which she runs to this day.

Amy Hunt
Amy Hunt

Amy Hunt is an experienced digital journalist, currently working as Life Channel Editor at She began as the magazine's features assistant before moving over to digital as a News and Features Writer, before becoming Senior Writer, and now a Channel Editor. She has worked on other women's lifestyle websites previously too—including Woman's Weekly,, Woman, and Woman's Own. In 2019, Amy won the Digital Journalist of the Year award at the AOP Awards, for her work on 

She is obsessive about everything homes and interiors—whether she's sniffing out the very best deal on a KitchenAid stand mixer or keeping up the latest Dyson release. And when she isn't editing or writing articles on interior trends or the latest home gadgets, she's passionate about books—you'll usually find her with her nose in a gripping thriller at the end of the working day.