BBC presenter George Alagiah says his bowel cancer is ‘knocking on the door everyday’

BBC presenter George Alagiah says his bowel cancer is ‘knocking on the door everyday’ – but he ISN’T scared of dying

  • The 63-year-old presenter was first diagnosed with bowel cancer back in 2014 
  • After battling it for three years it returned and spread to liver and lymph nodes 
  • He now said he has had to work through coming to terms with the disease  

Veteran BBC News presenter George Alagiah has said ‘cancer is knocking on his door everyday’ despite having endured more than 40 rounds of chemotherapy.

The 63-year-old now says he isn’t afraid of dying, after first being diagnosed with bowel cancer back in 2014.

After battling the disease for just three years, it was revealed in 2017 that it had returned, after it had spread to his liver and lymph nodes.

The newsreader, who presented BBC News at Six and Ten now says he has come to terms with how the disease may impact him and his family.

George Alagiah has said ‘cancer is knocking on his door everyday’ he is pictured above at an event this summer 

He credits his wife Frances (pictured together above) for helping him get through the tough times

He credits his wife Frances (pictured together above) for helping him get through the tough times 

Speaking on the ‘How To Fail’ podcast, hosted by Elizabeth Day, he said: ‘I’m not actually scared of death. I’m not, for myself. That much I know and I’ve had to work through it in my head.

‘I’m one scan away from perhaps knowing that thing is going to happen sooner rather than later.’

He credits his family, his wife Frances, who he lives with in north London, and his two sons Adam and Matthew for helping him through the tough times. 

‘I’ve dealt with it for myself, but I do find it very difficult when I think of my loved ones and particularly for the woman who has loved me, and I’ve loved, since 1976 – Frances.’

Alagiah (pictured above in 2018) says he is content with life despite his health issues

Alagiah (pictured above in 2018) says he is content with life despite his health issues 

After becoming a grandfather last year he also said that it was a ‘wonderful thing’.

He delved deep into what treatment he received and said that after the disease spread he needed 17 rounds of chemo, as well as five operations, one of which removed most of his liver.

In 2015 he returned to work and two years later had to take time out again after his bowl cancer resurfaced.

On the podcast he explained her was ‘pretty content with life’, and even said he felt happier than he did five and a half years ago.

‘Cancer is a physical disease, but you have to deal with it as much in your mind as anywhere else.

Back in January his friends welcomed him back to the BBC studios in London

Back in January his friends welcomed him back to the BBC studios in London 

He is pictured above in 1998 with Anna Ford, Huw Edwards and Fiona Bruce

He is pictured above in 1998 with Anna Ford, Huw Edwards and Fiona Bruce

‘You certainly have to come to terms with it. I was in ‘sort your affairs’ territory. It took me three to six months to figure out how I was going to deal with it.’

He said he drew up list of good things and bad things in his life and discovered the good things ‘way outnumber the bad things’.

He added that it had been tough and that he is continuing his treatment.

‘Cancer is knocking on my door every day. I have to accept and own that vulnerability, and not let it engulf me.’

Despite having his own health issues to contend with, he also weighed into the current BBC pay row, which has seen Samira Ahmed continue to fight a £700,000 pay dispute with the broadcaster.

Ms Ahmed presents Newswatch, in which viewers can complain about BBC reporting

Ms Ahmed presents Newswatch, in which viewers can complain about BBC reporting

He said he was concerned about it, after he was named as one of the corporation’s top earners, raking in £250,000-£300,000 a year.

‘There is a gender pay gap. I know we published a list for us ‘top people’, if you can call us that.

‘I am actually more worried about the gender gap below, of the people who don’t get published and whether there is a gap there, and there shouldn’t be. I think equal pay for equal work.’

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