BBC’s George Alagiah says he’s ‘grateful for the public’s support’ after revealing his cancer has returned
- Journalist underwent 17 rounds of chemotherapy after diagnosis back in 2014
- But in January last year he revealed that the bowel cancer had returned
- Today his agent thanked the public for their ‘tremendous support’ during illness
Newsreader George Alagiah has spoken warmly of his supportive fans as he prepares to face yet more treatment for bowel cancer.
After viewers welcomed him back onto the BBC in January following 17 rounds of chemotherapy, the journalist today revealed that his cancer has returned.
His agent said in a statement that he thanked the public for the ‘tremendous’ support they have shown him since his 2014 diagnosis.
Mary Greenham said in a statement: ‘George Alagiah will aim to be on-air as much as possible but may need to reduce his workload in the next few weeks as he begins a new regime of treatment to deal with a recent recurrence of his cancer.
‘He is always grateful to the public for the tremendous support he has received.’
George, 63, from London, was diagnosed with bowel cancer in April 2014 and was given the all clear in November 2015
Alagiah underwent 17 rounds of chemotherapy to treat advanced bowel cancer in 2014 before returning to presenting duties in 2015, but in January 2018 he revealed that he was struggling once again.
The BBC journalist (pictured with his wife, Fran) talks openly about how bowel cancer has affected his family and those around him
The journalist recently opened up about his Stage 4 diagnosis and how it affected his family and mental health in a new podcast.
Speaking on the George Alagiah: A Bowel Cancer UK podcast, he said in April: ‘Everybody’s got their way of dealing with it, but I had to get to what I now call my place of contentment.
‘Because there was so much thrashing about in my mind, some of it negative, some of it dark.’
George started his journalism career at the BBC in 1989 and became one of the BBC’s leading foreign correspondents, reporting on new stories in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In January this year George presented News at Six for the first time in more than a year this after taking time off to battle cancer.
Pictured: The journalist hosting George Alagiah: A Bowel Cancer UK podcast, in which he speaks frankly about the impact it has had on is life
Social media users praised his return as they shared outpourings of support during his first broadcast back on the BBC.
On Twitter, one person said: ‘#bb1 Welcome back dear Geroge Alagiah. Hooray for you. #georgealagiah.’
Another user was happy to see him back and commented on his new appearance, they said: ‘Great to see @georgealagiah back leading BBC news. Love the new look!’
And one more said she was thrilled her ‘favourite newsreader’ was back.
The BBC’s George Alagiah presents the lead news item on the News at Six this evening, much to the joy of his colleagues and social media users
BBC News at 6 programme editor Jonathan Whitaker later shared a photo of Alagiah ‘back in the hot seat’ ahead of the 6pm broadcast.
Speaking last year when he learned the bowel cancer had returned, he said it had been ‘harder for his family.’
He said: ‘My brilliant doctors are determined to get me back to a disease-free state and I know they have the skill to do just that.
Chris Cook, another BBC colleague, posted a picture of Alagiah back in the newsroom. They wrote: ‘Look who’s back in the newsroom’
‘I learned last time around how important the support of family and friends is and I am blessed in that department.
‘I genuinely feel positive as I prepare for this new challenge.’
He added: ‘Always knew cancer could come back but still tough dealing with disappointment.
‘Harder for my family. I know what I have to do: stay calm, stay content, stay fit and let doctors do their best.’
What is bowel cancer and what are the symptoms?
Bowel, or colorectal, cancer affects the large bowel, which is made up of the colon and rectum.
Such tumours usually develop from pre-cancerous growths, called polyps.
- Bleeding from the bottom
- Blood in stools
- A change in bowel habits lasting at least three weeks
- Unexplained weight loss
- Extreme, unexplained tiredness
- Abdominal pain
Most cases have no clear cause, however, people are more at risk if they:
- Are over 50
- Have a family history of the condition
- Have a personal history of polyps in their bowel
- Suffer from inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn’s disease
- Lead an unhealthy lifestyle
Treatment usually involves surgery, and chemo- and radiotherapy.
More than nine out of 10 people with stage one bowel cancer survive five years or more after their diagnosis.
This drops significantly if it is diagnosed in later stages.
According to Bowel Cancer UK figures, more than 41,200 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer every year in the UK.
It affects around 40 per 100,000 adults per year in the US, according to the National Cancer Institute.