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6 Mar 2018

Bill Turnbull, ex-BBC host, diagnosed with prostate cancer

The former BBC Breakfast presenter Bill Turnbull has revealed that he has prostate cancer.

The Classic FM host, 62, said he was diagnosed at the end of last year, after pills no longer alleviated long-term aches and pains that he had put down to “old age”.

Turnbull told Radio Times magazine that the cancer had spread to his bones. Encouraging other people to get tested, he said: “Maybe if I’d got it earlier and stopped it at the prostate, I’d be in a much better state.”

He added: “The worst thing is, you carry it through the day and then you go to bed at night and wake up in the morning and it comes to you again. I have got cancer. I’ve still got cancer. It wasn’t a bad dream. And that takes a lot of dealing with.”

The disease has spread to his legs, hips, pelvis and ribs.

Turnbull, who has three children, said of being diagnosed: “Those first few days were probably the worst days of my life.

“The GP said, ‘It’s clear you have prostate cancer and that it’s spread to the bone.’ And all of a sudden you’re in this dark chasm.

“That first moment is a real shell shock. You can’t remember the precise words, you just remember the hammer blow.”

He added: “It saddens me that I’m not going to be around as much as I thought with my wife and family ... If things progress as they do on average, I can’t plan beyond 12 years.”

His consultant hopes he can live for another 18 years.

Turnbull was diagnosed as he was recording an episode of The Great Celebrity Bake Off, to be broadcast on Channel 4 for Stand Up To Cancer. “When I was making my cupcakes, I had the disease and didn’t know it,” he said.

Although he had prostate tests aged 40 and 50, Turnbull said he was “cross with myself” for having not visited a GP in four years.

Last month, Stephen Fry announced that he had undergone surgery for prostate cancer. The actor and presenter, 60, had his prostate removed in January after being diagnosed in December.

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