jeremy bowen

BBC News journalist Jeremy Bowen diagnosed with bowel cancer

The BBC Middle East editor was diagnosed in October

Sharnaz Shahid

BBC News journalist Jeremy Bowen has revealed he has been diagnosed with bowel cancer. During Monday's BBC Breakfast, the 59-year-old - who is the Middle East editor for the BBC - told viewers he was diagnosed with the disease in October, and has since been undergoing chemotherapy after noticing "funny pains in my legs and in my back" whilst working in Iraq last May. "When I came back I had to go to hospital for a couple of days but they didn't mention cancer, they said it was to do with scar tissue that I had from a previous surgery," he told the hosts Dan Walker and Louise Minchin.

Jeremy Bowen has been diagnosed with bowel cancer

"I thought I should get a test, so I went to my GP, and I’d had none of the classic bowel cancer symptoms, nothing at all," he added. "But I thought I should get a test. So I got a test and it was positive. I had a colonoscopy where they put a camera on a stick up your bottom, [which] is not nearly as bad as it sounds, and they give you lots of drugs and from that they found out that I had a tumour, and I had surgery, got [it] taken away and now I’m having chemotherapy."

MORE: BBC to air documentary on the murder of Crimewatch presenter Jill Dando

Loading the player...

Jeremy then went on to urge viewers not to be embarrassed to go to their doctors if they feel pain. "[The diagnosis] could have been a bit earlier, but had it been much later it would have been much worse," he continued. "The key thing is to get tested… Bowels and poo are not the normal things people want to talk about, but don't die of embarrassment, for God’s sake." Discussing Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, he added: "I've kept quiet about it except to my nearest and dearest and friends, but I thought why not? And if me coming on your programme means a few extra people decide to get tested and as a result get their cancers caught, then it’s time well spent."

Like this story? Sign up to our newsletter to get other stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.

More on: