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Presenter Bill Turnbull tells of his battle with prostate cancer

16 October, 2018 - 07:54
Bill Turnbull has told of his ongoing battle with cancer   Picture: Matthew Usher.

Bill Turnbull has told of his ongoing battle with cancer Picture: Matthew Usher.

© Archant Norfolk 2014

Former BBC Breakfast presenter and now Suffolk resident Bill Turnbull has spoken of his ongoing battle with cancer.

He said his daily struggle with the disease had become “relentlessly boring” – and described how it is present in his life when he goes to sleep at night and when he wakes up each morning.

The Classic FM presenter was diagnosed with incurable prostate cancer in November 2017, and has spoken to Radio Times magazine about his struggle.

Turnbull has had 10 rounds of chemotherapy in a bid to stop the cancer, which has spread across his pelvis, hips, legs and spine.

He said: “It’s the fact that having cancer is so relentlessly boring. You go to bed at night thinking about it, and it’s still there when you wake up.

“It’s there all day, every day - a fact of life you have to get used to. And it’s a massive pain in the backside.”

In July he asked his doctors to stop the chemotherapy, before doing four more rounds.

He said: “I asked the 
consultant to release me from the treatment. I just couldn’t bear it any longer.”

He has said he does not accept being called courageous for speaking out about cancer, but has paid tribute to his late colleague Sarah Bland, who died at 40 after blogging about her struggles with cancer and showing “courage indeed”.

Turnbull’s blood count for cancer has been brought down by the chemotherapy, but it could return within months.

He has said it is not clear how long he will live, even if future treatment is successful.

Turnbull moved to Suffolk after leaving the BBC in 2016 to devote more time to his hobby of beekeeping and spend time with family and friends.

He recently chaired an event at the popular Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival, held last month.

And earlier this year he sent a poignant message to women competing in Ipswich’s Race for Life: don’t leave it too late to get checked for cancer.

This week’s Radio Times is available from Monday.

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