Bill Turnbull has emotionally urged men to go for prostate exams amid his battle with terminal cancer.
The broadcaster, 64, who was diagnosed with incurable prostate cancer in 2017, spoke to Gethin Jones and Kym Marsh on BBC Morning Live on Thursday, where he admitted he had experienced cancer symptoms for months before his diagnosis.
He said: ‘I didn’t get checked which is why I’m in the situation I’m in now. And we were working out the other day; the first symptoms were maybe six months, eight months before I got diagnosed, with aches and pains that didn’t go away.
Interview: Bill Turnbull has emotionally urged men to go for prostate exams amid his battle with terminal cancer
‘And actually there were other warning signs in the previous years as well that I should have paid attention to.’
‘Men don’t want to go to the doctors, as simple as that. I didn’t want to go to the doctor. Now I’m going to the doctor all the time. They all know me on a first name basis.’
The star urged viewers to visit the doctor for a prostate exam, saying: ‘If you’re worried about your dad, or your husband or your uncle… for heaven’s sake. Tell them to go and get checked.
‘It doesn’t hurt anybody and it can save you so much grief later in the day.
Before: The broadcaster, 64, who was diagnosed with incurable prostate cancer in 2017, spoke on BBC Morning Live on Thursday, where he admitted he had experienced cancer symptoms for months before his diagnosis (pictured November 2016)
‘I’ve had so many people get in touch and say “yeah I got checked, I got diagnosed and we caught it early, and as a result, the future is a lot brighter” but if you don’t do that, then it’s a different picture.’
In early November, Bill revealed he has ‘good and bad days’ amid his battle with prostate cancer.
The TV star who hosts a Classic FM show from 10am-1pm on Saturdays and Sundays, spoke to Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid on Good Morning Britain during which he admitted being able to work helps him.
When Piers asked: ‘How are you getting on? We’ve been following your illness’, he responded: ‘I’m OK. Good days and bad days, that sort of thing. I’m very much helped I can still work and do my show on Classic FM’.
Earlier this year, Bill gave an update as he admitted he is ‘very, very calm’ about the prospect of dying and revealed why he has come to terms with living with his illness.
He said: ‘I didn’t get checked which is why I’m in the situation I’m in now. And we were working out the other day; the first symptoms were maybe six months, eight months before I got diagnosed, with aches and pains that didn’t go away’
Bill shared: ‘I’ve thought a great deal about death since I was diagnosed with cancer because he’s there, y’know – the fella with the hood over his head and the scythe. He’s waiting, and that’s fine.’
Four years after stepping down from BBC Breakfast, Bill was diagnosed with incurable prostate cancer diagnosed in November 2017.
The disease has since spread to his spine, ribs, pelvis, hips and legs.
After nine gruelling rounds of chemotherapy, Bill is now receiving treatments including hormone therapy and radium injections to attack the tumours in his bones.
The journalist continued: ‘I’ve developed quite a healthy relationship with death, I feel very, very calm about it because I’ve given it a lot of thought. There’s no way I’m going to imagine I can live forever, nor would I really want to.’
Plea: The star urged viewers to visit the doctor for a prostate exam, saying: ‘If you’re worried about your dad, or your husband or your uncle… for heaven’s sake. Tell me to go and get checked’
Tough times: Bill recently revealed he has ‘good and bad days’ amid his battle with prostate cancer, three years after being diagnosed with the incurable illness
Bill has been with wife Sarah since 1988 and they share children Henry, 32, Will, 31, and Flora, 28.
In February this year, Bill joined Susanna to co-host on Good Morning Britain.
He told the presenter why living with cancer has made ‘every moment of life is a joy.’
He said: ‘The things you thought were important aren’t really. You do see things more intensely and start to look at things you might not have done otherwise, because you realise there’s more to life than rushing from A to B to do C.’
WHAT IS PROSTATE CANCER?
How many people does it kill?
Prostate cancer became a bigger killer than breast cancer for the first time, official statistics revealed last year.
More than 11,800 men a year – or one every 45 minutes – are now killed by the disease in Britain, compared with about 11,400 women dying of breast cancer.
It means prostate cancer is behind only lung and bowel in terms of how many people it kills in Britain. In the US, the disease kills 26,000 each year.
Despite this, it receives less than half the research funding of breast cancer – while treatments for the disease are trailing at least a decade behind.
How quickly does it develop?
Prostate cancer usually develops slowly, so there may be no signs someone has it for many years, according to the NHS.
If the cancer is at an early stage and not causing symptoms, a policy of ‘watchful waiting’ or ‘active surveillance’ may be adopted.
Some patients can be cured if the disease is treated in the early stages.
But if it diagnosed at a later stage, when it has spread, then it becomes terminal and treatment revolves around relieving symptoms.
Thousands of men are put off seeking a diagnosis because of the known side effects from treatment, including erectile dysfunction.
Tests and treatment
Tests for prostate cancer are haphazard, with accurate tools only just beginning to emerge.
There is no national prostate screening programme as for years the tests have been too inaccurate.
Doctors struggle to distinguish between aggressive and less serious tumours, making it hard to decide on treatment.
Men over 50 are eligible for a ‘PSA’ blood test which gives doctors a rough idea of whether a patient is at risk.
But it is unreliable. Patients who get a positive result are usually given a biopsy which is also not foolproof.
Scientists are unsure as to what causes prostate cancer, but age, obesity and a lack of exercise are known risks.
Anyone with any concerns can speak to Prostate Cancer UK’s specialist nurses on 0800 074 8383 or visit prostatecanceruk.org