BBC News' George Alagiah Says He 'Did Not Want To Know His Chances' Of Surviving Bowel Cancer

The journalist was diagnosed with an advanced form of the disease in 2014, and it returned last year.

BBC newsreader George Alagiah has said he did not want to know his chances of surviving cancer after he was first diagnosed with bowel cancer.

Speaking on the Bowel Cancer UK podcast, George explained how he examined his life for six months after receiving the news, and decided he was happy despite his illness.

BBC News presenter George Alagiah
BBC News presenter George Alagiah
PA Entertainment

“I decided I didn’t want to know about the survival statistics. It’s a very unpredictable disease, you’re good one week and not the next, good chances one year and not the next,” he said.

“It took me about three to six months after my diagnosis, I called it getting to a place of contentment. I needed that.

“Just to kind of look at my life and say ‘whatever happens, do you know what, I’m content’.”

He continued: “I literally had a list of good things that happened to me and bad things, and I realised that the good things far outweighed the bad.

“Is there somebody out there in some other country could do something for me that doctors here can’t?”

George previously underwent 17 rounds of chemotherapy to treat advanced bowel cancer in 2014, before returning to presenting duties on BBC News in 2015.

George returned to the BBC News at Six in January
George returned to the BBC News at Six in January

In January 2018, George disclosed that the cancer had returned and took an additional year away from our screens, before returning to the BBC newsroom at the beginning of this year.

In June, George – who has presented BBC News At Six for more than 10 years – announced he would be undergoing a “new regime of treatment” in his continued fight against the disease.

5 Ways To Reduce Bowel Cancer Risk