British journalist, George Alagiah has announced he is taking a break from presenting the BBC’s News At Six because scans have shown his cancer has spread further.
The 66-year-old newsreader was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer in 2014 and announced he was stepping back from his broadcasting work in October last year, but then returned to BBC News At Six in April.
Now the presenter says it’s ‘back to some tough stuff’ – but he is looking forward to returning to the studio as soon as he can.
Mr Alagiah said: ‘A recent scan showed that my cancer has spread further so it’s back to some tough stuff.
‘I’m missing my colleagues. Working in the newsroom has been such an important part of keeping energised and motivated.
‘I look forward to being back in that studio as soon as I can.’
The news was confirmed by his agent Mary Greenham.
Sri Lanka-born Alagiah underwent 17 rounds of chemotherapy to treat his advanced bowel cancer in 2014.
He returned to presenting in 2015 after making progress against the disease. Sadly, his cancer then returned in December 2017 and he underwent further treatment before again returning to work.
In 2020, he tested positive for coronavirus after deciding to stop appearing in the studio during the outbreak following advice from doctors and colleagues.
He was forced to take another break from broadcasting in October last year as his doctors wanted to hit a new tumour ‘hard and fast’. He subsequently returned in April this year.
Last month the newsreader revealed he had a ‘tumour site’ at the base of his back and has spent 18 months in ‘extreme pain’.
In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, he said: ‘It is near my L5 lowest vertebra. I’ve spent a lot of the last 18 months in extreme pain.
‘There have been times when even lying down makes it worse.’
Mr. Alagiah told of how he has undergone more than 100 rounds of chemotherapy since his first cancer diagnosis eight years ago and has been lucky to get four hours of sleep a night.
He receives low doses for three-quarters of the year and higher doses the rest of the time.
Asked if cancer had spread to his spine, he previously said: ‘I don’t know if it is into my spine. It is very technical so you have to be careful.
‘What I have is a tumour that is resting very close to the spine and, as far as doctors can make out, has eroded a bit of a vertebra.
‘More importantly, it is sitting very close to the nerve and the aorta. Both of which are significant. That’s the one we are watching.’