Bill Turnbull, 63, is a fixture on people’s TV screens and airways. The former BBC Breakfast anchor is currently presenting on the radio station Classic FM. As a much-loved journalist who has spent many years in the spotlight, it is little wonder that fans were shocked to learn of his prostate cancer diagnosis back in March last year. In Staying Alive, a new documentary airing tonight, viewers will gain an insight into his treatment process.
Appearing on BBC Breakfast, Bill revealed the current status of his health: “I’m feeling really very well, the only reason I can’t be with you right now is not cancer related, I’ve had a bug that I can’t quite shake off.
“I’ve had no aches and pains for a long time and I feel remarkably cheerful and healthy.
“I’ve been off chemotherapy for more than a year so I’ve recovered from that and I’ve started on something else.
“But I think it does in terms of coming to terms with the disease and understanding my relationship to it, if you like, and I’m just now, the past couple of months thinking, I can help myself in so many ways through diet and the way I live, and through the way I am psychologically in attitude.
“And all those are little tiles in what I call a mosaic of recovery. They all build to help you feel better.”
Bill revealed the support he has received from his family has helped him through his treatment.
To aid the treatment process, Bill has overhauled aspects of his lifestyle.
The former BBC presenter said he has largely given up meat and has quit drinking alcohol as well.
He’s also been experimenting with alternative therapies, including cannabis oil.
Recounting his experiences, he said: “It just made me high and very light-headed. We speak to doctor Peter McCormick in the film who shows that THC in cannabis, which is the bit that makes you high, does kill cancer cells, and it’s just a case of getting more research done, to see what generally the effect would be on human beings.
“To be honest, it was an enjoyable experience, I wouldn’t do it every day, and I have tried it for a while, I just stopped it recently because I wasn’t sure where it was taking me.
“The difficulty is, it’s like, say, having aspirin, and not understanding how much to take and in what form or what quantities.
“We just don’t know – we know it can be beneficial, but because there hasn’t been enough research into what type to take, there’s thousands of different types, you don’t know what strength to take it in, or what mix to take it in, and because of that, I just wasn’t sure of where to go.
“We’re sure it is beneficial to a certain extent, but we’ve just got to find out how.”
In light of his new lifestyle approach, Bill reflected on what he would have done differently earlier on.
He said: “I think I would have gone to the doctors more than once in four years. I got checked when I was 40 i was fine, 50 I was fine, no cancer in my family – I thought I’m going to be alright but it turned out I wasn’t.
“I think if I’d had the opportunity again I would have monitored my health more carefully.”
Symptoms of prostate cancer
The NHS says symptoms of prostate cancer don’t usually appear until the prostate is large enough to affect the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the penis (urethra).
But when this happens, the following symptoms may occur:
- An increased need to urinate
- Straining while they urinate
- A feeling that a person’s bladder has not fully emptied
These symptoms don’t necessarily mean you have prostate cancer but a person should always get checked out by their GP.
These symptoms don’t necessarily mean a person has prostate cancer but they should always get checked out by their GP, advises the health site.