The Sun’s Deborah James sheds tears for pals lost to cancer as she faces 40th birthday ‘she never expected to see’
THE Sun's Deborah James today told how she is facing a rollercoaster of emotions as she nears her 40th birthday.
As she approaches the milestone day on Friday, she revealed she is constantly thinking of friends tragically lost to cancer.
Appearing on Lorraine this morning she said: "I think it's one of the things I think about as I approach my 40th.
"When I was first diagnosed, I was diagnosed with metastatic bowel cancer and very sadly, without waving too many statistics around a very small handful of people will make it to the five years mark.
"Which is why I'm sitting here celebrating my 40th.
"What I keep thinking about is the 92 per cent who aren't here, they are my friends who I've said goodbye to.
"Even thinking about it it's what's almost shaking me up because I was very close to things a couple of months ago.
"Now suddenly I think about all those people who I have said goodbye to who aren't making those milestones. And I don't know what the future looks like but that's why we keep campaigning."
It comes after she wrote in the Sun how getting to her 40th – a birthday she wasn't expected to make – was the best present.
She explained how this year she was closer to death than ever before – after the drugs that had kept her alive for years stopped working.
A tumour wrapped around her bile duct started to grow again, and as a result her liver began to fail.
On June 23, she was rushed to hospital for an emergency operation to insert a stent into her liver to try to reverse the organ failure – thankfully it worked and she could have chemo again.
This morning she was joined by her mum, Heather, who surprised her with a birthday cake topped with a poo made of icing.
Deborah, known as Bowel Babe through her efforts to educate people on the signs of bowel cancer, laughed as she spotted the cheeky decoration.
Since Deborah was diagnosed in 2016 she has documented her journey for her social media followers and Sun readers.
And she was sent messages ahead of her big day from friends and family who have been with her every step of the way.
Steve Bland, the husband of Deborah's late friend and co-host of You, Me and the Big C, Rachel, told her how much her friendship meant to them.
KNOWING BOWEL CANCER SIGNS COULD SAVE YOUR LIFE
BOWEL cancer is the fourth most common form of the disease in the UK – but the second deadliest, claiming around 16,000 lives a year.
Yet it can be cured, if it’s diagnosed early enough.
Fewer than one in ten people survive bowel cancer if it’s picked up at stage 4, but detected at stage 1 – before it’s spread – and more than nine in ten patients will live five years or longer.
There are two ways to ensure early diagnosis, screening and awareness of the symptoms.
Brits have been subjected to a postcode lottery when it comes to bowel cancer screening, with tests sent out in Scotland from 50, while people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have to wait until they are 60.
That’s why The Sun launched the No Time 2 Lose campaign, calling on the Government to lower the screening age, to save thousands of lives a year.
In the summer of 2018, Matt Hancock agreed, in a victory for The Sun and campaigners – yet three years on and screening at 50 has yet to be widely rolled out.
While screening is an important part of early diagnosis, so is knowing the symptoms and acting if you spot the signs.
The five red-flag symptoms are:
- Bleeding from the back passage, or blood in your poo
- A change in your normal toilet habits – going more or less often for example
- Pain or lump in your tummy
- Extreme tiredness for no real reason
- Unexplained weight loss
If you’re worried, don’t be embarrassed and speak to your GP – doctors see and deal with bowel problems all the time
And her children, Hugo and Eloise, told their mum how much they loved her and how proud they are of her.
Fellow cancer patients and pal Lauren Mahon also sent their well wishes and love to Deborah, who became emotional as she watched.
Her mum spoke of her efforts to remove the stigma from checking your bowel health, adding: "I think she's always been wanting to educate, that was your thing and we're very proud of what she's achieve in all her life and in the last five years has been amazing."
Deborah became emotional when Lorraine pointed out people are living today because of her.
She said: "I think sometimes I forget that and when you reach these milestones you kind of think 'oh ok I can look back at some of the things'.
"I'm just somebody trying to live, and you always try to make the best of whatever situation you are thrown into and I received a message from somebody on social media and it started with 'you have saved my life'.
"Sometimes you want to throw a big party and sometimes you don't and at 3o'clock in the morning and you're crying thinking I can't do this and then you come out with a cake and you start to get really excited about what could happen, anything could happen.
"One day at a time, anything can happen."
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