Dame Deborah James has encouraged people to ‘smash taboos’ by talking about their poo and learning to recognise bowel cancer symptoms.
The 40-year-old podcaster, known as Bowel Babe online, was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2016, and in May revealed she was receiving end of life care at her home in Surrey.
Speaking on an episode of E4’s Embarrassing Bodies, which was recorded while Dame Deborah was still in hospital, she encouraged viewers to ‘not be embarrassed about it,’ and recognise the importance of monitoring their bowel movements.
In doing so, she said, people would ‘save lives’.
Speaking on Thursday’s episode of Embarrassing Bodies, she said: ‘We all poo, our favourite celebrities poo!
‘Let’s kind of break down smash those taboos because quite frankly, that is going to save lives. Let’s spread the word.’
Dame Deborah, in discussion with presenter Doctor Tosin, recalled her experience with being diagnosed with bowel cancer, admitting she used to think of it as an ‘old man’s disease.’
‘Which I now know is absolutely not the case,” she added.
‘Actually, unfortunately, I’ve met so many young people. It’s one of the largest rising cancers under 50. It was quite shocking actually. I think it was the last thing that I thought it would be.’
When asked about her symptoms by Doctor Tosin, Dame Deborah explained: ‘The biggest thing that I had was a change of bowel habits.
‘I started going to poo – we need to say that – eight times a day. And I used to be once a day kind of girl.
‘Then I started getting really tired. I remember drinking loads of cups of coffee just to try to keep myself awake.’
She continued: ‘Then I started losing loads of weight and I started pooing blood. For me it was the combination of these changes that led to me having a gut instinct that something wasn’t right.’
Since her diagnosis, Dame Deborah has kept her Instagram followers up to date with her treatments to raise awareness about the signs of bowel cancer.
She has so far raised more than £6.6 million for Cancer Research UK, Bowel Cancer UK and the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity through her Bowelbabe fund on JustGiving.
Last month, Dame Deborah announced she had written another book, titled How To Live When You Could Be Dead, documenting what she has learned about having a positive mindset when faced with life’s biggest challenges.
Despite not being due to be published until August, the book shot to number one on the Amazon list through pre-orders, with her royalties going towards her Bowelbabe Fund.
The podcast host followed this up by releasing a clothing line with In The Style, with 100% of the profits going towards the cancer charity.
She was recently honoured with a damehood by William at her home for her ‘tireless campaigning’ efforts.
This week, Dame Deborah attended the Royal Ascot after revealing she was on a mission to work her way through all the cocktails while she still can.
Mum-of-two Dame Deborah appeared in high spirits and smiled for snaps from her wheelchair alongside her brother, Benjamin James.
She recently told Lorraine Kelly that she is ‘taking life day by day and just continuing to feel blessed to have another day, knowing that my time is limited.’