Deborah James discusses 'scary' bowel cancer symptoms

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Deborah James, 39, launched ITV’s Lorraine’s No Butts’ campaign back in April, designed to get people talking about the illness’s main symptoms. Recently revealing she was battling an aggressive new tumour, the BBC podcast presenter left followers sobbing after sharing an emotional video of her dancing with her 13-year-old son.

The video included a throwback clip from 2017, waltzing with her son Hugo, alongside a newer clip as the pair recreated the dance together in the garden.

Deborah said dancing had been part of her chemotherapy ritual in order to “laugh through the tears”.

Giving an update on her cancer battle on Lorraine, Deborah said: “I feel like the last month, I know things with my cancer haven’t been going that well.

“And I have to say things got very, very scary. I don’t think I’ve ever been so scared actually in my life.

“About a week and a half ago, my liver started to fail.

“I’ve always kind of had options available to me, chemotherapy, or you always think what’s next.

“And suddenly I was at the point where actually I couldn’t have any chemotherapy because my liver just wouldn’t tolerate it.

“But can I just say a massive thank you to the NHS, who when you need them, the kind of darkest of moments, I was rushed across to hospital.

“Essentially, I had my bile duct unblocked and suddenly my liver started working again, and it meant five days later I could be back restarting chemotherapy, which right now is the only option I have.”

She added: “I’m facing a really tough time at the moment, I was facing it four years ago so I’ve just got to do it again.”

The No Butts campaign lists the signs and symptoms of bowel cancer everyone should be aware of:

  • Blood in your poo or from your bottom
  • Obvious changes in your bowel habit
  • Weight loss you can’t explain
  • Extreme tiredness for no apparent reason
  • Lump and/or pain in your tummy

The campaign also asks people to be familiar with their bowel habits.

There are seven types of stools – 1-2 are signs of constipation, 3-4 are normal, and 5-7 indicate or diarrhoea or urgency:

1. Individual, hard lumps – sometimes hard to pass

2. Lumpy but formed together like a sausage

3. Cracked surface and sausage shaped

4. Smooth, soft and snake like (this is what you want)

5. Easy to pass, sharp edged blobs

6. Mushy, jagged edges

7. Watery and no substance

Bowel cancer that has spread to the liver

When bowel cancer spreads to the liver it’s called liver metastasis.

It can cause intrahepatic biliary tree obstruction and jaundice.

When bowel cancer spreads it often spreads to the liver or the lungs.

If you suspect you have bowel cancer, speak to your GP.

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