Cancer has spread to my lungs

George Alagiah has said a check-up for Covid-19 revealed that his long-term cancer had spread to the lungs, but it is not time to set his affairs in order. 

The BBC newsreader was first received treatment in 2014 for bowel cancer which spread to his liver and lymph nodes, and in 2017 announced that the disease had returned. 

The 64-year-old presenter has now revealed that cancer has reached his lungs and was detected after a test for coronavirus.

Alagiah publicly said he defeated the virus when he was told in April, but kept quiet on the development of his long-term disease which is not “terminal”.

He said his oncologist has not yet told him to get his affairs in order, and the presenter is determined not to worry despite his chemotherapy increasing.

“My doctors have never used the word ‘chronic’ or ‘cure’ about my cancer,” he told The Times.

“They’ve 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.”

Alagiah revealed he told his doctor to “do the worrying for me”, adding “I don’t want to fill my mind with worry”.  

Battling the illness since 2014, the presenter has undergone rounds of chemotherapy, and managed to return to work first in 2015 then in 2019.

In April of this year Alagiah said he had contracted and overcome Covid-19,  but subsequent tests showed cancer had reached his lungs.  When the spread was revealed the broadcaster only disclosed the news to his editor. 

His struggle with the disease has included three serious operations, one to remove a large section of his liver. 

During his years dealing with the illness the Sri Lanka-born presenter has contributed to a Bowel Cancer UK podcast, candidly discussing how his life has changed. 

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