BBC Podcast presenter Deborah James has declared that she has an incurable form of cancer and is now looking for the’magic medicine miracle. 

Former deputy head teacher and cancer activist, the mother of two, who is 40 years old, was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer in December 2016. She was given the news that she would not survive beyond five. 

An aggressive tumour had grown around her bile conduit, causing her to be admitted to hospital. She also required an operation to keep her liver functioning.  

Last night she posted an Instagram post saying she felt like she was on a London hospital visit and explaining how the stent had’stopped working.

The ‘quick’ replacement procedure she had undergone was a nightmare. “All I can say is that I only want hope and possibilities.

BBC podcast presenter Deborah James, 40, who has incurable cancer, has said she is looking for 'magic medicine miracle' after her liver stent failed

Deborah James (40), a BBC Podcast presenter, said that she has an incurable form of cancer and is now looking for the’magic medicine miracle.

She posted a photo from the hospital’s carpark and wrote, “Plan B Bile Stent Operation wasn’t an Option either. So I am now going back to Marsden asap for Plan C!” You can also choose D or Z, if you have one.

“Just to make it clear, I required a Bile Stent about 6 months back to prevent my liver from dripping.

“Despite feeling the most positive I’ve felt in quite some time, we could clearly see that this was starting to fail (as they so often do) but what was meant to be an easy replacement turned out to be a disaster.

This is mainly due to the fact that there have been cancerous changes to this region, so it’s difficult to simply get my plumbing running!

Posting on Instagram last night, she said she felt she was 'on a London hospital tour', and explained how the stent 'stopped working'

Last night she posted on Instagram that she felt like she was “on a London Hospital Tour” and described how the stent had’stopped working’.

“I now don’t have a stent. I need to think fast and get out of my box.”

“At 4 p.m. today, I thought that all hope was gone. But, luckily, a couple of chats with my oncologist and just discussing the possible paths we could take, is all I have.

I believe that a realistic glimpse of these things is sufficient to encourage me to continue my faith. It’s not clear what I should do next, but it will be one by one. 

It is ironic to note that five years ago, I was struggling with how I would put my foot on the ground when I heard the words “you’ve got cancer”.

The mother-of-two spent weeks this autumn recovering from an infection, after she was rushed to hospital with a fever

After being rushed to the hospital for a fever, this mother-of-2 spent several weeks recovering. 

“If there is one thing that I have learned over the past five years, it is that you can still keep going, no matter how scary or difficult, and you need to keep your faith.

Mother-of-two, the mother of two, has been recovering from an infection for several months. She was admitted to hospital after developing a fever. 

She shared an update on Instagram last month, writing: ‘Apologies for being quiet on here but it turns out I’m pretty ill at the moment. Thank you for all the messages that brought joy to my life during a very difficult time.

She continued: ‘I’m using all my energy to recover and today is the first day I’ve felt able to give you an update.

The social media star has documented her battle with cancer online since being diagnosed and campaigned for better awareness around bowel cancer diagnosis

Social media celebrity has been documenting her fight with cancer on the internet since she was diagnosed. She also campaigns for greater awareness about bowel cancer.

“Despite wanting to get out of these horrible side effects from cancer treatments, my body decided that it had other plans. 

“On Wednesday, I was admitted for what was now known to be another septic condition. I was so ill my incredible husband had to blue light me quickly to A&E. 

‘This time all my Bowel issues have come to ahead and I’m currently dealing with a condition called infectious colitis. I am suffering from a bacterial intestinal infection which is causing me colitis (Bowel inflammation). It is also present in my bloodstream.

“I didn’t know you could puke so many times in 5 minutes!” I am 8 months pregnant. I’m being looked after well, pumped continually full of antibiotics and fluids but of course feel incredibly weak and tired from no sleep.’

Last month she revealed how she was rushed to A&E after experiencing 'spiking 40 degree temperatures' on Tuesday (pictured)

Last month she revealed how she was rushed to A&E after experiencing ‘spiking 40 degree temperatures’ on Tuesday (pictured)

She added: ‘Whilst I’ve always wanted to show every side of cancer, right now living through this all is hard and isn’t something I want even my kids to be witness to. 

‘I’m just getting through it day by day, second by second and my family have been incredible at rallying around to support. 

‘I’m making slow progress and hoping things continue to improve.’


Colorectal cancer, also known as bowel or colon cancer, affects the large intestinal tract, made up of the colon, rectum, and stomach.

These tumours are usually formed from polyps (pre-cancerous growths).

These are the symptoms:

  • Bleeding at the bottom
  • There is blood in the stool
  • Changes in your bowel habits that last at least 3 weeks
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Extreme, unexplained tiredness
  • Pain in the abdomen

Although most cases do not have a clear cause, individuals are at greater risk if: 

  • More than 50
  • A family history is required
  • A personal history of having polyps found in their bowel.
  • Crohn’s disease and inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s are common.
  • Live a unhealthy life  

The treatment usually includes surgery and chemotherapy.

Nine out of ten people diagnosed with stage 1 bowel cancer live for five years after being diagnosed.

It is more common in the later stages. 

Bowel Cancer UK statistics show that more than 41,200 British are diagnosed each year with bowel cancer. 

The National Cancer Institute estimates that it is estimated to affect around 40% of the US’s 100,000 adult population each year.

After thanking her supporters, she said: “Keep telling people close to your heart that you love and appreciate them.” It is so wonderful to have good health. Do not take this for granted. 

This Instagram photo was taken just days after her cancer treatment revealed.

In a post on Twitter, the podcast host admitted that she’d been through some tough times.  These were words I wanted to hear but couldn’t believe could happen.

Elle continued, “I feel like I was preparing for what might happen.” It was extremely difficult to wait for the scan results. It’s like I went to hell. 

These are my first scans after my other drugs failed to work, my liver exploded, and I developed sepsis. 

“We began me back with what was my first-line ‘nuclear chemotherapy’, and I have to admit it has floored us. 

“Despite all the smiles and pretty dresses that I share (because these are moments in my day which make me smile), this has been the toughest 3 months of my physical (and mental) diagnosis.

She revealed doctors have said she is ‘stable’, adding: ‘ Essentially the cancer that was rapidly growing and causing my liver to fail, has been halted at least temporarily.

“And even my lymnodes shrink! Are you cured? No. Never. Can I have active cancer? Sadly, yes. 

“But this gives me more time.” I’m at least waiting for my next scan.

After years of chemotherapy, she added that she was ‘on the knees’ and is now “over the moon” about the news. She also said, “I know how lucky I am to be able to receive the opposite side of the coin.” 

“But it still hasn’t sink in. I’ve been down the loo the past 3 days because of chemotherapy, and have fallen asleep without any brief window of prancing.

Her post was concluded by her writing, “But cheers to another day, another opportunity, more options and more life that I never thought I would see!” “One day at the time!”   

James announced in April her return to cancer. After a pioneering treatment she had been able to keep at bay, James was forced into a 12th procedure.

A West London mother-of-2, a deputy leader, was diagnosed in December 2016 with incurable colon cancer.

Her frequent statements have been that she is the only person who doctors thought would get this disease because she has always run as a vegetarian.

Deborah started sharing her personal experiences with the disease through social media. She was called the “Bowel Babe”, and she began to write columns for the Sun.


In 2018, Deborah (left) joined Lauren Mahon (front) and Rachael Bland (right) to present the award-winning podcast You, Me and the Big C on Radio 5 Live. Bland tragically died of breast cancer on September 5th that year; her husband Steve Bland now co-presents the show

Deborah, (left), joined Lauren Mahon (front), and Rachael Bland (right) for the 2018 award-winning radio podcast You, Me, the Big C. Bland, who died from breast cancer in September 2005, was tragically killed. Steve Bland is now the co-host of the program.

  • The West London mother of two, who was a deputy head in the West London police force, was later diagnosed with incurable bowel carcinoma.
  • Deborah was the “Bowel Babe” after sharing her personal experiences with the disease via social media. 
  • She was one of the three presenters for Radio 5 Live’s You, Me and the Big C in 2018, which her late cohost Rachael Bland created. 
  • Bland, a Welsh journalist and broadcaster, was diagnosed with terminal breast carcinoma on September 5, 2018.
  • Lauren Mahon and Deborah continue hosting the show. Rachael Bland is joining them as well.
  • Deborah documented her many radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgical sessions on social media, as well as in her Sun column.
Last week, Deborah told followers on Instagram 'By my general lack of being on here (dancing!), that Things have moved (in the wrong direction) very quickly cancer wise.' Pictured: Deborah James undergoing a scan at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London

Deborah shared with her Instagram followers last week that she was unable to dance because of my lack of commitment.It seems that things are moving in the wrong direction (cancer wise) quite quickly. Photo: Deborah James undergoes a scan at Royal Marsden Hospital, London

  • CyberKnife is a high-targeted form of radiotherapy that targets inoperable lymph nodes close to her liver. It was performed by the woman in 2019.
  •  The pandemic’s impact on cancer services saw her campaign for care to continue as normal and, earlier this year, she launched the ITV’s Lorraine’s ‘No Butts’ campaign, raising awareness on bowel cancer symptoms 
  • She has been using new drugs since last year as part of a study after her oncology staff gave permission.
  • Deborah shared with August that recent scans have shown her cancer is moving in the wrong direction.  
  • After announcing to her social media followers, she said that she will be taking a weekend break from social media in order to spend time with her family before continuing scans.
  • Mother-of-two, Judith said that a new and rapidly-growing tumour had formed near her liver. 
  • Deborah turns 40 on October 1. 
  • On October 18, she informed her two-year-old daughter that chemotherapy had been successful.
  • Days later, she was rushed to A&E with ‘spiking 40 degree temperatures’