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GMB: Bill Turnbull grills Lisa Nandy on Labour’s policies

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The presenter was first diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2017. The condition that is diagnosed in about 129 men every day across the UK, is extremely common, but can be dangerous due to its slow development. Today Bill announced that “with regret” he will be taking a leave of absence from his Classic FM show. Although he gave no further indication of how long this leave of absence would be, he continued to say: “I will be back, just as soon as I can be.”

Making the announcement on Twitter, Bill added: “The road has been a bit bumpy recently, and I need to take some time to focus on getting better.

“I’m sorry to do this, as I absolutely love doing the programme, and have hugely enjoyed the past five years.

“I am very grateful to friends and colleagues @global for the love and support they have shown me.”

Immediately a string of support came from fellow journalists and fans of the presenter, lipitor and glucosamine including a Classic FM spokesman who said Bill was “a hugely valued and loved member” of the team.

Whilst a fan wrote: “Get well soon Bill, we will miss you massively. You’ve become part of our family at weekends with your show, always great listening. And thank you for entertaining us all this week. You’re such a gentleman.”

Symptoms of prostate cancer do not usually appear until the prostate is large enough to affect the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the penis.

However, if you or someone you know starts to experience difficulty when going to the toilet it is advised to go and see a GP. Possible changes to the bladder and urine include:

  • Difficulty starting to urinate or emptying your bladder
  • A weak flow when you urinate
  • A feeling that your bladder hasn’t emptied properly
  • Dribbling urine after you finish urinating
  • Needing to urinate more often than usual, especially at night
  • A sudden need to urinate – you may sometimes leak urine before you get to the toilet.

The 65-year-old who has lived with the condition for four years has always been very open about his diagnosis.

In 2019 he revealed that the cancer had spread to his bones, but that he still had a “fair-old time to live”.

Since his diagnosis the journalist has undergone numerous rounds of chemotherapy and even had injections of radioactive substance Radium 223.

Cancer Research UK explains that Radium 223 is a mildly radioactive form of the metal radium. It is used specifically to treat cancers that begin in the prostate and can help to reduce pain.

The charity adds that Radium 223 is for men who:

  • Had hormone treatment that is no longer working
  • Have either had or aren’t suitable for docetaxel (a type of chemotherapy)
  • Have cancer that has spread to the bones but not to other organs
  • Are not having treatment with abiraterone.

Similar to calcium, when injected with radium it is absorbed by bone cells. In turn the cancer cells then take up the radium 223 and release radiation which only travels a short distance.

This means that the cancer cells receive a high dose of radiation which can destroy them. And healthy cells receive only a low dose or no radiation. So this treatment causes few side effects.

Bill opened up about the treatment he is receiving as “unbearable”, particularly the chemotherapy.

Back in May 2020 the star also opened up about his thoughts on the afterlife, explaining that he was “very very calm” about the prospect of death.

He said: “I have thought a great deal about death since I was diagnosed with cancer because he is there, y’know the fella with the hood over his head and the scythe. He is waiting and that is fine.

“I have developed quite a healthy relationship with death. I feel very very calm about it because I have given it a lot of thought.

“So there is no way I am going to imagine I can live forever, nor would I really want to.

“And in the circumstance I am giving serious consideration to what sort of music I would want played at my funeral, whether I want to be buried or cremated, the funeral plan, all that sort of thing.”

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