Deborah James on cancer patients amid coronavirus crisis

BBC podcast presenter Deborah James who has incurable stage 4 bowel cancer reveals she’s continuing hospital treatment despite the risks – after admitting she’s ‘really, really scared’ of contracting coronavirus

  • Deborah James was diagnosed with incurable bowel cancer in December 2016 
  • The mother to Hugo, 12, and Eloise, ten, has been told she is free of the disease 
  • Says has been self-isolating since last month amid worsening coronavirus crisis 
  • She told ‘spirits are high’ but says people’s cancer treatment has been affected  

BBC presenter Deborah James, who has incurable stage four bowel cancer, has revealed she’s continuing her treatment, despite the worry of coronavirus infection in hospital. 

The mother-of-two, 38, from London , who presents the Radio 5 Live podcast ‘You, me and the Big C’, appeared on Lorraine this morning via video link, where she explained that although she wanted a break from treatment, the ‘risk was too high’.

In January, the former deputy headteacher announced that her most recent scans had shown ‘no evidence of cancer’ in her body for the first time since her diagnosis in 2016, but she still needs regular treatment.

Last month, she admitted to feeling ‘really, really scared’ as a vulnerable cancer patient, but today she explained: ‘That’s the only thing, you’re kind of in between a rock and a hard place, if you need treatment, you need treatment.

BBC presenter Deborah James,38, from London, who has incurable stage four bowel cancer appeared on Lorraine this morning to speak about treatment during the coronavirus crisis 

The mother-of-two, a former deputy head from South West London, has shared her journey with the disease including candid photos of herself undergoing treatment and has now opened up a page for those quarantined with children

‘I was hoping I could have a break in my treatment, but unfortunately but we decided the risk was too high and in order to keep sitting on my disease, I have to keep having treatment every week.

‘So I’m in at the Marsden, all the precautions are being taken I feel very secure and safe. You still have to go ahead, it’s weighing up the risk and keeping safe when we do it.’ 

She told that while ‘spirits are high’ there are ‘people she cares about’ whose treatment has been negatively affected by the health pandemic, as compromised services means treatment and procedures have been pushed back.  

She said: ‘Spirits are high at least on the surface. But I know directly with the people that I care about, how much COVID is directly impacting upon their treatment. 

She went on to explain to host Lorraine Kelly (left)  that while she was hoping to have a break in her treatment during lock-down, the risk was too high

‘We know services are being compromised and we know that people’s treatments are having to be bumped, or the the time they’re having an operation is being pushed back, or the time they’re visiting the hospital is being pushed back. 

‘Which I think says, a lot in terms of how serious the situation we’re in is. But also, we have to pull together much more so than ever before as a team and just support each other.’ 

Last month, she told on the show that while she’s in a ‘good place’ health-wise, she was still taking ‘ uber precautions’ to self-isolate as best she could, because she’s still very vulnerable.

A recent photo of Deborah receiving treatment at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London 

Deborah (pictured here in hospital) has undergone countless rounds of grueling treatment and operations after she was diagnosed in 2016

She said: ‘I think anyone in a high risk condition is a little bit scared on how to play it. I’m not on lock down, but I am taking uber precautions.’ 

The mum added: ‘I am someone who lives with cancer and I am in a good place, I’m really, really scared. 

‘I still have to go into the hospital to have treatment, but there are some aspects of life that have to go on. So, a massive thank you to everyone on the front line, who keep the world ticking.’


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