TV & Movies

BBCs George Alagiah in extreme pain and knackered as he battles cancer

BBC presenter George Alagiah has admitted working while living with cancer has left him "absolutely knackered."

The BBC News at Six broadcaster, 66, was first diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2014 and was forced to take a break from work to tackle treatment.

After returning the following year, the newsreader was diagnosed again in 2017 and underwent more treatment.

READ MORE: BBC Breakfast's Naga Munchetty sends support to colleague after sad loss

The Sri-Lankan born journalist announced in October 2021 that he would be taking a break for further treatment before returning to his role in April this year.

Since his first diagnosis eight years ago, George has undergone around 100 rounds of chemotherapy.

In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph, the dad-of-two has now revealed he has a "tumour site" located at the base of his back.

He told the publication: "It is near my L5 lowest vertebra. I’ve spent a lot of the last 18 months in extreme pain. There have been times when even lying down makes it worse."

Despite admitting that presenting the news leaves him physically exhausted, the BBC star says his job is incredibly beneficial to his mental state.

"By the time I walk out of that newsroom at seven o’clock in the evening, having been there since the morning, I am absolutely knackered physically – but mentally I am rejuvenated," he explained.

Speaking about whether the cancer has spread to his spine, George said: "I don’t know if it is into my spine. It is very technical so you have to be careful. What I have is a tumour that is resting very close to the spine and, as far as doctors can make out, has eroded a bit of a vertebra."

He added: "More importantly, it is sitting very close to the nerve and the aorta. Both of which are significant. That’s the one we are watching."

George, whose BBC team took home a BAFTA in 2000 for its Kosovo coverage, has been married to his wife Frances for more than 30 years and spoke candidly about the fear of leaving her behind.

“One of the things I want to do is hold hands with my wife until the end, and am I going to be able to do that? It haunts me."

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