Published by BBC NEWS - 10th May 2022

Deborah James

Podcast host Deborah James has said she is receiving hospice-at-home care for her bowel cancer and “nobody knows how long I’ve got left”.

The presenter of the BBC’s You, Me and the Big C said she has had a “heart-breaking” six months but is “surrounded by love”.

“My body just can’t continue anymore,” she said in a post on Instagram.

Ms James was diagnosed in 2016 and kept her 300,000 followers updated with candid accounts of her treatment.

In December, she reflected on the five years that had passed since she was told she had incurable cancer, saying: “I’m fully aware I shouldn’t be alive to write this today.”

But in a new Instagram post on Monday, the 40-year-old said she had to deliver “the message I never wanted to write”.

Ms James said her cancer was no longer being actively treated and instead the focus was on ensuring she was not in pain – allowing her to spend time with her “incredible family”, who were all around her.

“Nobody knows how long I’ve got left but I’m not able to walk, I’m sleeping most of the days, and most things I took for granted are pipe dreams,” she said.

“I know we have left no stone unturned. But even with all the innovative cancer drugs in the world or some magic new breakthrough, my body just can’t continue anymore.”

The former deputy head teacher said a Bowelbabe Fund – named after her online handle – was being set up to fund research into personalised medicine for cancer patients, and to support campaigns to raise awareness of bowel cancer.

Ms James began presenting You, Me and the Big C with Lauren Mahon and BBC Radio 5 Live newsreader Rachael Bland in 2018, with the show earning praise for its frank discussion of cancer.

Ms Bland died at the age of 40 six months after the show launched. She had been diagnosed with breast cancer two years earlier.

In her Instagram post, Ms James said: “Right now for me it’s all about taking it a day at a time, step by step and being grateful for another sunrise.

“My whole family are around me and we will dance through this together, sunbathing and laughing (I’ll cry!!) at every possible moment!”

She thanked her online followers for “playing your part in my journey”, before signing off with the words: “No regrets. Enjoy life x”

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