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BBC’s Jeremy Bowen: I have cancer but it’s part of life’s journey

THE BBC’s Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen has revealed he is being treated for bowel cancer.

The journalist, who has had surgery to remove a tumour and is undergoing chemotherapy, said he was diagnosed in October after noticing ‘funny pains’ in his legs and back.

Making a guest appearance on BBC Breakfast, which he used to present, the 59-year-old said: ‘I’m a positive kind of guy. The chemo is not nearly as bad as I thought it would be in terms of side effects. I think I’ve just been quite lucky to tolerate it. You’ve got to keep positive about things in life. It’s all part of the journey.’

Bowen revealed he had been telling all his friends ‘get tested’ because he had no inkling that he had cancer when he noticed the leg and back pain while working in Iraq.

‘When I came back I had to go to hospital for a couple of days, but they didn’t mention cancer,’ he said.

‘They said it was to do with some scar tissue I had from some previous surgery. I went to my GP and I had no symptoms, none of the classic bowel cancer symptoms. I got a test and it came back positive.

‘From that they found that I had a tumour. I had surgery to take it away. And now I’m having chemotherapy.’

Cardiff-born Bowen, who has worked for the BBC for 35 years, said if he had been diagnosed at a later stage it ‘would have been much more serious’. He warned people who suffer classic symptoms, such as blood in poo, not to put off seeking help, revealing that a doctor had told him ‘you don’t need to die of embarrassment’.

‘Things to do with your bowels and poo are not things people normally want to talk about,’ Bowen added.

‘But actually it’s part of all our lives and you need to work on it.’