A BBC presenter battling bowel cancer has shared pictures of herself looking glamorous when she had no idea her body was being ravaged by the disease.
Deborah James, who co-hosts the Radio 5 Live podcast You, Me and the Big C, posted the images to encourage others to see a GP or push for a diagnosis when they look healthy but are unwell.
Mum-of-two Ms James, known as the Bowel Babe, said she appeared fine in the photos, taken just weeks before the devastating diagnosis, but she had a number of alarming symptoms.
The 37-year-old said she would have had stage 4 bowel cancer at the time, including a tumour measuring 6.5cm (2.5ins), and she wishes she had known the signs.
Ms James, a cancer awareness campaigner who is lobbying for a spot on Strictly Come Dancing, has stressed that looking healthy doesn’t mean your body is well, and encouraged people not to ignore their symptoms.
The deputy head shared the photos on Instagram after being inspired by the 10-year challenge on social media.
One selfie shows Ms James cuddling with her husband Sebastien Bowen just 24 hours before she found out she had bowel cancer.
Other photos show her holding a glass of wine a week before the diagnosis and at a party with her brother and sister just two months before.
She wrote in one caption: ‘I would have had the Stage 4 Bowel Cancer – including the 6.5cm tumour – inside me in all of these."
In one post, she wrote: "When I look back at old pictures, I wish I had known the symptoms. Pushed to get a referral."
She added in another: "My point being in all the pictures I look healthy but I was pooing blood, was tired and had had a change in bowel habits."
Ms James was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2016.
She has been very public with her battle, sharing regular updates on social media while encouraging others to know the signs and see a GP if they think something is wrong.
Two days ago, she announced that her cancer was stable after her body responded badly to new treatment over Christmas.
Ms James wrote on Instagram: "STABLE! Every Cancer patient knows that sigh of relief, the permission to breathe again, the new window of hope that starts.
"Never under estimate the power of one word. Yes I still have a challenge, yes I still have Cancer, but let’s continue to dance through the rain!"
She presents the You, Me And The Big C podcast with Lauren Mahon, who is in remission from breast cancer.
Their former co-host, Rachael Bland, died aged 40 of a rare triple negative breast cancer in September last year.
After Mrs Bland’s death, Ms James told ITV’s Lorraine Kelly that her friend was "one of the healthiest people I know" right up until her tragic death.
Ms James said: "I miss her so much, even just looking at those photographs it breaks my heart actually.
"But what we did together was, we put cancer on prime time, and I’m so proud to have done that with her and her legacy and what we started, we’re going to carry on with it.
"It really annoys me, that idea that you have to fight you cancer and Rachael is prime example of this.
"She was the most positive, upbeat and healthy person I can think of, yet she died because of cancer."
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