Ex-BBC Breakfast host Bill Turnbull, 63, reveals he is trying cannabis in his painful battle with prostate cancer in emotional new Channel 4 documentary
Former BBC Breakfast host Bill Turnbull has revealed he is trying cannabis during his battle with prostate cancer.
The 63-year-old presenter, who hosted the morning show for 15 years from 2001 to 2016, was diagnosed with incurable cancer in 2017 and has since had at least nine rounds of chemotherapy.
Now Turnbull is speaking out in ‘Bill Turnbull: Staying Alive’, a new Channel 4 documentary due to air next month which will look at treatments available for cancer sufferers.
The show will see him interview political reporter Nick Robinson, newsreader Sian Williams and presenter Stephen Fry, who have also all battled cancer.
A TV insider told The Sun: ‘This documentary shows Bill’s willing to do anything in a bid to beat the disease.
‘In this case it includes him trying a treatment which is considered unconventional – and even controversial.
‘But there is much more to the show, including showing the effect his cancer has had on his family.’
Turnbull first shared his advanced prostate cancer diagnosis on The Great Celebrity Bake Off for Stand Up To Cancer in a testimony which had viewers in tears.
But two years after his initial diagnosis, the emotional documentary will explore how his life has changed and how he has negotiated the challenges of cancer.
Turnbull chose to ignore the early warning signs of prostate cancer, and it had already spread to his bones by the time he went to his doctor.
He had hoped for a long retirement with his wife Sarah and their children Henry, Will and Flora, but the diagnosis meant this was cut short.
The documentary will also look at how he is enjoying commentating on his beloved Wycombe Wanderers Football Club or presenting on Classic FM.
Last December, Eton-educated Turnbull told of his ‘unbearable’ cancer battle as he made a return to BBC Breakfast.
The broadcaster has been praised for saving lives by telling of his fight against the disease and encouraging other men to be tested.
In April it was revealed a record 2.2million people were given NHS cancer checks in England last year – up from 1.9million in 2017.
The NHS said the high profile treatments of celebrities including Turnbull and Fry had helped increase awareness.
Speaking last year, he urged fellow cancer sufferers to ‘hold tight’ until the ‘dark’ times ease.
Turnbull previously told how at one point he asked doctors to stop his chemo, saying: ‘I just couldn’t bear it any longer.’
Turnbull met a man who he inspired to get checked on the show last December. He told viewers: ‘You have a few days where you’re in shock and then you have a few weeks that are pretty dark.’
He added: ‘On this day when people are watching, there will be hundreds of people in Britain who will get a diagnosis – hundreds.
‘All I can say to them is hold tight, and things will…they won’t get better, but it won’t be quite as dark as it is now.’
Turnbull told last October how the cancer had spread to the bone – across his pelvis, hips, legs and spine.
He said it was no longer spreading but ‘hasn’t been beaten back entirely, adding: ‘We’re at a stalemate.’
The number of men receiving treatment for prostate cancer rose by more than a third last year.
The head of NHS England labelled it the ‘Fry and Turnbull effect’ after Fry also revealed he has undergone prostate cancer surgery.
The pair have encouraged men with symptoms, such as having to urinate more frequently, to get tested.
The Daily Mail has campaigned for urgent improvement of prostate cancer diagnosis and treatments.
It is now the most common cancer affecting UK men with 21,000 diagnosed every year. However, many men still feel too embarrassed to go to the doctor.
Early diagnosis is vital – men diagnosed at a late stage have just a 22 per cent chance of surviving ten years, compared to a 98 per cent chance if diagnosed early.
In April, BBC war correspondent Jeremy Bowen told how he was diagnosed with bowel cancer after going to the doctor with ‘funny pains’ in his back and legs.
The corporation’s Middle East editor had none of the usual symptoms of bowel cancer.
However, he noticed something was wrong with his back and legs in Iraq nearly a year ago, and initially put it down to old scars from surgery.
But after seeking medical help last autumn, he tested positive for cancer. Doctors carried out a colonoscopy and found a tumour, which they removed.