Sri Lanka-born BBC presenter George Alagiah has confirmed his bowel cancer has spread to his lungs.
The 64-year-old newsreader, who joined the BBC in 1989, was first diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2014 and later said it spread to his liver and lymph nodes. After 17 courses of chemotherapy and five operations, it appeared the cancer had cleared – but it returned in 2018.
He revealed doctors told him at the end of April the cancer has now spread to his lungs in an interview with The Times. Mr Alagiah also spoke about testing positive for coronavirus after he developed a fever on 17 March.
“My doctors have never used the word ‘chronic’ or ‘cure’ about my cancer,” he said. “They’re never used the word ‘terminal’ either.
“I’ve always said to my oncologist, ‘Tell me when I need to sort my affairs out’, and he’s not told me that, but what he did tell me is that the cancer is now in a third organ. It is in my lungs.”
Mr Alagiah said his previously low dose of chemotherapy has been increased to “the grown-up stuff”.
He said he kept the latest development secret and by the time of the interview with The Times, had only told his editor.
“I said to my doctor, ‘You’re going to have to do the worrying for me’. I don’t want to fill my mind with worry. I just know that he’s a clever guy, doing everything he can.”
The Sri Lanka-born presenter was diagnosed when he was 58. By that time, he had been the solo anchor of BBC News at Six for seven years and was regularly out on the field in foreign assignments.