George Alagiah: My cancer has returned

BBC newsreader George Alagiah is to undergo medical treatment for cancer after the disease returned for a second time.

Monday, 15th January 2018, 9:50 am
Updated Monday, 15th January 2018, 9:50 am

The 62-year-old presenter was previously diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2014 and it was later revealed that it had spread to his liver and lymph nodes.

He was cleared of the disease the following year and returned to work in November 2015.

A statement given to the Press Association by Alagiah’s agent, Mary Greenham, on Monday read: “George Alagiah, the presenter of BBC News At Six, is to undergo medical treatment after a recurrence of cancer.

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“He was first diagnosed with bowel cancer in April 2014 and returned to the screen in November 2015 after extensive treatment.

“He is in discussions with his medical team about treatment options and the way forward.”

Alagiah 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.

“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.”

Ms Greenham asked that Alagiah’s “privacy be respected at this time”.

A BBC spokesman said: “Everyone at the BBC sends George and his family their best wishes as he undergoes treatment and we will be thinking of them.”

The Sri Lanka-born presenter was diagnosed with the disease, which had spread to his liver and lymph nodes, in April 2014.

He had noticed blood in his stools and, after a colonoscopy, a tumour was discovered on his bowel.

MRI scans later detected eight tumours in his liver.

In 2016, Alagiah said he was a “richer person” for the experience, which saw him undergo several rounds of chemotherapy and three major operations, one of which included the removal of most of his liver.

He told the Telegraph: “I realised I wouldn’t give back a single day of the previous year’s experience. I am a richer person for it.”

He added: “I wasn’t afraid of dying. I just wanted to get on with treatment.”

However, the broadcaster, who was made an OBE in 2008’s New Year Honours list, admitted that he worried about check-ups.

He told the newspaper: “I get anxious and then there is a huge relief when the doctor tells me it is clear again. But I am under no illusions.

“The doctor warned me last year ‘Your cancer knows the road, the pathway out of the gut’. It can happen again.”

Alagiah joined the BBC in 1989 and spent many years as one of the corporation’s leading foreign correspondents before moving to presenting.

He has been the face of News At Six since 2007.

Alagiah is married and has two children.