bill turnbull november 2016

Bill Turnbull diagnosed with incurable prostate cancer

The former BBC Breakfast host revealed the disease has now spread further

Gemma Strong

Bill Turnbull has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. The 62-year-old former BBC Breakfast host said he broke down in tears when he was diagnosed in November, and confirmed he will not be cured of the disease, which has spread to his bone in the legs, hips, pelvis and ribs. Bill told the Radio Times that he wanted to encourage people to get tested, saying: "Maybe if I'd got it earlier and stopped it at the prostate, I'd be in a much better state." He said he had put long-term aches and pains down to "old age", and said he now feels "cross" with himself for not having visited a GP for four years.

Bill Turnbull has revealed he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer

Bill, who has three grown-up children, was interviewed about his illness by his BBC Breakfast co-host Sian Williams, who had a double mastectomy for breast cancer. Of telling his family – wife Sesi, Henry, 29, Will, 28 and 26-year-old Flora - the TV host said: "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: "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."

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The former BBC Breakfast presenter was interviewed by friend and ex co-host Sian Williams

Bill, who insisted life was currently "very liveable", continued: "I know I'm not going to get cured and I'm realistic about the long-term prospects, but they're not bad. Most importantly, I really do think I've had a wonderful life, with amazing experiences as a reporter and a presenter. And if it was all to end tomorrow, I couldn't have any complaints. I've had a really marvellous time."

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The Classic FM host said his life as he knew it "is now in the past tense". He explained: "You have BC, Before Cancer, when you had a normal life, and then there's After Cancer, when things are very different. The only thing is, I don't want the rest of my life to be defined by the illness…It saddens me that I'm not going to be around as much as I thought with my wife and family. I do need to plan to make sure my life is spent well. To make sure all the days count."

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Bill, 62, confirmed on Twitter he is receiving "excellent treatment" at the Royal Marsden

Bill, who said his consultant hopes he can live for another 18 years, further revealed that he was diagnosed while he was recording The Great Celebrity Bake Off For Stand Up To Cancer on Channel 4. "When I was making my cupcakes, I had the disease and didn’t know it," he said.

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In a tweet posted on Monday evening, Bill said he was receiving excellent medical treatment from The Royal Marsden. He wrote: "I can confirm reports that I was diagnosed with prostate and bone cancer last November. I'm receiving excellent treatment including chemotherapy at @royalmarsdenNHS and am immensely grateful for the support I've had from colleagues at @ClassicFM, where I continue to work.nI am in good spirits and hope to be around for some time yet. Please spare a thought today for the hundreds of people in the UK who will be told today that they have cancer. They are the ones who really need some love. Thank you."

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