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I'm richer for my cancer battle says 'BBC survivor' George Alagiah

Published 28/02/2016

George Alagiah prepares to present BBC News At Six for the first time since his cancer treatment
George Alagiah prepares to present BBC News At Six for the first time since his cancer treatment

BBC newsreader George Alagiah has said he is "a richer person" after his battle with bowel cancer.

The 60 year old's comment came as the so-called "BBC survivors club" of Alagiah, Andrew Marr, Nick Robinson and Frank Gardner met for the first time on Friday.

All four have survived life-threatening conditions.

Broadcaster Marr had a stroke, former political editor Robinson had lung cancer and correspondent Gardner is paralysed from the waist down after he was shot in Saudi Arabia.

During an interview with The Telegraph, Alagiah opened up about being free of stage four bowel cancer.

"I realised I wouldn't give back a single day of the previous year's experience," he said. "I am a richer person for it."

When Alagiah noticed blood in his stools, his GP arranged a colonoscopy.

The presenter was diagnosed with the disease, which had spread to his liver and lymph nodes, in April 2014.

Bowel Cancer UK has said it kills nearly 16,000 men and women every year in the UK. It is the second most common cause of cancer death in the UK, behind lung cancer.

"I wasn't afraid of dying," the Sri Lankan-born newsman told The Telegraph. "I just wanted to get on with treatment. "

He endured two rounds of chemotherapy and several operations, including the removal of most of his liver.

But Alagiah, who is married with two sons, kept himself busy with a journal. He also wrote a novel.

On October 28, 2015 he announced that his treatment was over and returned to BBC News At Six on November 10.

After his first show, he told viewers: "It's good to be back with you."

However the broadcaster, who was made an OBE in 2008's New Year Honours list, admitted to worries over check-ups.

"I get anxious and then there is a huge relief when the doctor tells me it is clear again. But I am under no illusions," he said in his Telegraph interview.

"The doctor warned me last year, 'Your cancer knows the road, the pathway out of the gut'. It can happen again."

Alagiah joined the BBC in 1989 and spent many years as one of the corporation's leading foreign correspondents before moving to presenting.

He has been the face of News At Six since 2007.

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