Presenter Deborah James, 40, confirmed she is now in hospice care after a five-year battle with stage 4 colon cancer
BBC presenter Deborah James has told fans in a heartbreaking Instagram post that she doesn’t know “how much longer I have”.
The 40-year-old TV star admitted she has now been transferred to a hospice at home to treat her end-stage colon cancer and is surrounded by her family and friends.
The host of BBC podcast You, Me And The Big C said the last six months had been “heartbreaking” but she had been surrounded by “so much love” and had “no regrets”.
Who is Deborah James?
Deborah James is a former Deputy Headmistress and cancer activist from London.
She has written for and contributed to a variety of publications including The Sunday Times, The Sun, Daily Mail, The Times, Grazia, Women’s Health and Marie Claire, and The Independent.
She has also appeared as a regular co-presenter on Talk Radio and BBC Radio London and has appeared and presented on BBC Breakfast, Lorraine, Sky News, Victoria Derbyshire, Stand up to Cancer and The One Show.
James is also the author of a bestselling book, F*** You Cancer, which is a self-help guide to living your best life with cancer, and is the presenter of the BBC podcast, You, Me And The Big C. .
She is married to Sebastien Bowen, a banker at Pomona Capital, and together they have two children, Hugo, 14, and Eloise, 12.
When was she diagnosed with colon cancer?
James was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2016 and has since kept her almost 300,000 Instagram followers updated on her treatments, sharing candid posts about her progress and diagnosis.
On December 14, 2021, she marked five years since her diagnosis and said in a post, “I am fully aware that I should not be alive today to write this.”
What symptoms did she have?
James has said her symptoms started with weight loss, blood flow, going to the bathroom more regularly than normal, and feeling tired. She sought medical advice after admitting she had a “sixth sense” when something was wrong.
More than 90% of people with the disease have one of the following combinations of symptoms:
- a lasting change in bowel habits – more frequent bowel movements with looser, more liquid stools and sometimes abdominal pain
- Blood in the stool without other symptoms of hemorrhoids (hemorrhoids)
- Abdominal pain, discomfort or bloating, always caused by eating, sometimes leading to a reduction in the amount of food eaten and weight loss
Constipation is rarely caused by serious bowel disorders.
The NHS recommends seeing a GP if you have any of the symptoms of bowel cancer for at least three weeks.
What did she say in her last health update?
In her latest update, posted to Instagram on Monday (May 9), James said “the time has come to say goodbye,” admitting that her body “just can’t go on anymore.”
Explaining that her “body isn’t playing along,” the mother-of-two said she doesn’t know how long she has left as she opened up about her struggle.
Im heartbreaking post OfficeShe wrote: “The message I never wanted to write. We’ve tried everything, but my body just won’t cooperate.
“My active care has ended and I have now been placed in a home hospice with my incredible family around me and the focus is on making sure I am not in pain and spending time with them. Nobody knows how long I have left, but I can’t walk, I sleep most of the time, and most of the things I took for granted are pipe dreams.
“I know that we have left no stone unturned. But even with all the innovative cancer drugs in the world, or some magical new breakthrough, my body just can’t keep going.
“In over 5 years of writing about how I thought it would be my last Christmas, how I wouldn’t see my 40th birthday and not see my kids go to high school – I never intended to write that in which I would actually say goodbye. I think it was the rebellious hope in me.
“But I don’t think anyone can say the last 6 months have been really kind! It’s heartbreaking to go through this but I’m surrounded by so much love that I’m hoping if anything can help me.”
The former Deputy Headmistress revealed in her post that she is setting up the Bowelbabe Fund and shared links to charities including Cancer Research UK, Bowel Cancer UK and the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.
She wrote: “I always knew there was one thing I always wanted to do before I die. I’ve always raised so much awareness and money for the charities closest to me over the years. @cr_uk@royalmarsden@coloncanceruk. This is the @bowelbabefund is being built and I would appreciate nothing more than your helping it to thrive. Please visit bowelbabe.org for all information and to donate (link in bio).
“I’m just asking if you’ve ever read a column, followed my Instagram, listened to the podcast, or seen me dressed up as poo for no reason. Please buy me a drink to see me out of this world by donating the cost @bowelbabefund which will allow us to raise funds for further life-saving cancer research. To give more Deborah’s more time!
“Right now, it’s about taking it step by step, day by day, and being thankful for another sunrise. My whole family is around me and we will dance through this together, sunbathe and laugh (I will cry!!) at every possible moment!
“You are all amazing, thank you for playing your part in my journey. No regret. Enjoy life x Deborah.”
The deposit The name reflects her social media name, Bowelbabe, and by early morning May 10 had already raised more than £800,000.