GEORGE Alagiah has revealed how “tough” it was when his bowel cancer returned.
The BBC newsreader, 63, had 17 rounds of chemotherapy to treat his advanced illness in 2014 before returning to presenting in 2015.
George Alagiah has revealed how ‘tough’ it was when his bowel cancer returned
But he had to have further treatment after a recurrence last year.
In the podcast In Conversation With George Alagiah, he said that he repeats a mantra every evening: “I ask myself if I’ll be here tomorrow, and for the past few years I’ve answered ‘Yes’.”
He added: “I found it harder the second time. To be told it had come back was quite tough.”
Bowel cancer is the UK’s fourth most common cancer, killing 16,000 people a year, Bowel Cancer UK said.
The Sun’s No Time 2 Lose campaign is calling on everyone to learn the red-flag signs of bowel cancer
SCREENING FROM 50 IS A NO BRAINER – IT COULD SAVE THOUSANDS OF LIVES
THE Sun’s No Time 2 Lose campaign is calling for bowel cancer screening in England to start at 50 NOT 60.
The move could save more than 4,500 lives a year, experts say.
Bowel cancer is the second deadliest form of the disease, but it can be cured if it’s caught early – or better still prevented.
Caught at stage 1 – the earliest stage – patients have a 97 per cent chance of living for five years or longer.
But catch it at stage 4 – when it’s already spread – and that chance plummets to just seven per cent.
In April, Lauren Backler, whose mum died of the disease at the age of 55, joined forces with The Sun to launch the No Time 2 Lose campaign, also supported by Bowel Cancer UK and Beating Bowel Cancer. Donate here.
Lauren delivered a petition to the Department of Health complete with almost 450,000 signatures, to put pressure on the Government to make this vital change – one that could save thousands of lives every year, and the NHS millions.
We all deserve an equal chance to beat this disease, regardless of where we live.
We know bowel cancer is more likely after the age of 50 – so it makes sense to screen from then.
Plus, it’s got to save the NHS money in the long-run, catching the disease before patients need serious and expensive treatments.
It’s a no brainer, thousands of lives are at stake every year.
You can still sign Lauren’s petition to show your support – click HERE to add your signature.
He says: “It’s easier for us as patients then it is for those around us.
“I’ve limited my life right down to 24 hours ahead, ‘Can I do what I need tomorrow? Yes I can.’
“Whereas for my wife and our sons, they are looking ahead, they’ve got their own lives to lead.
“But they also feel that they have to care for me and be sensitive to my needs as well.”
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Deborah Alsina, chief executive of Bowel Cancer UK, said: “We’re so incredibly grateful to George for hosting our first series of podcasts to raise awareness of the disease during Bowel Cancer Awareness Month.
“Our podcasts form part of our #thisisbowelcancer campaign, which aims to shine a light on the varied and many people affected by the disease.”
In Conversation With George Alagiah: A Bowel Cancer UK podcast, with Matthew Wiltshire, can be found at www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk/podcasts.
Alagiah pictured with colleagues in the newsroom
BOWEL CANCER: THE SYMPTOMSIF it’s caught early, bowel cancer is very treatable, and has a good survival rate.
Those diagnosed at stage one – the earliest stage – have a 97 per cent chance of surviving for five years or more.
That plummets to just seven per cent if you’re diagnosed at stage four, when the cancer has spread.
A key to early diagnosis is knowing the signs to watch out for.
The red-flag signs that mean you could have bowel cancer are:
bleeding from your bottom and/or blood in your poo
a persistant and unexplained change in your bowel habits
unexplained weight loss
extreme tiredness for no obvious reason
a pain or lump in your tummy
Most people with these symptoms won’t have bowel cancer, BUT if you have one or more of these signs it’s vital to see your GP to get checked over.
In some cases, a tumour in the bowel can cause an obstruction, blocking digestive waste from passing through the bowel.
Symptoms of a bowel obstruction can include:
intermittent, and occasionally severe, abdominal pain – this is always provoked by eating
unintentional weight loss – with persistent abdominal pain
constant swelling of the tummy – with abdominal pain
vomiting – with constant abdominal swelling
A bowel obstruction is a medical emergency. If you suspect your bowel is obstructed, you should see your GP quickly.
If this isn’t possible, go to A&E.
The Sun’s Deborah James tells Lorraine viewers to ‘check poo for signs of bowel cancer’