DAME Deborah James has said she will be 'forever grateful' to medical teams that gave her additional years with her children.
The 40-year-old was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer just days before Christmas in 2016.
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When the Sun writer was first given the news, she was told she might not live to see her first festive season.
But she has continuously defied the odds, raising millions of pounds for charity and even launching a fashion collection.
Earlier this month Debs was moved to at home hospice care and is currently residing at her parents' home in Surrey.
As she looks back on all she has achieved, she said it's the five years of additional memories that she is clinging onto – which she knows would not have been possible without her amazing team.
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She said: "My story isn’t one of sadness, it’s a celebration of getting to live for five years with incurable cancer, I’ve been so lucky.
"I owe my five years to the team at The Royal Marsden who told me they would throw the kitchen sink at my cancer, and never gave up.
"In my final days, I am so grateful to have the peace of knowing that we tried everything, they left no stone unturned.
"They gave me precious more time with my husband, my children and my family, and for that we will all be forever grateful.
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"There's a saying: 'Behind every great man, there's a great woman.
"Well behind every stage 4 cancer patient, there's a heroic team of medics and support staff just doing their job.”
Debs' team never gave up on her.
The podcaster hasn't had an easy ride, facing set back after setback.
In March this year, she was rushed to hospital after a septic infection left her with a 40 degree fever.
In July 2021 Debs said the drugs that had been keeping her alive had stopped working and an inoperable tumour wrapped around her bile duct meant her liver started to fail.
She is now urging readers to 'big up' their own healthcare heroes by nominating them for The Sun's Who Cares Wins Awards.
The signs of bowel cancer you need to know – remember BOWEL
There are several possible causes of bleeding from your bottom, of blood in your poo.
Bright red blood could come from swollen blood vessels, haemorrhoids or piles, in your back passage.
Dark red or black blood could come from your bowel or stomach.
Blood in your stools is one of the key signs of bowel cancer, so it’s important to mention it to your doctor so they can investigate.
2. O: Obvious change in loo habits
It’s important to tell your GP if you have noticed any changes in your bowel habits, that lasts three weeks or longer.
It’s especially important if you have also noticed signs of blood in your poo.
You might notice you need to go to the loo more often, you might have looser stools or feel like you’re not going enough or fully emptying your bowels.
Don’t be embarrassed, your GP will have heard a lot worse! Speak up and get it checked.
3. W: Weight loss
This is less common than the other symptoms, but an important one to be aware of. If you’ve lost weight and don’t really know why, it’s worth mentioning to your GP.
You may not feel like eating, feel sick, bloated and not hungry.
4. E: Extreme tiredness
Bowel cancer that causes bleeding can cause a lack of iron in the body – anaemia. If you develop anaemia you’re likely to feel tired and your skin might look pale.
5. L: Lump or pain
As with lots of other forms of cancer, a lump or pain can be a sign of bowel cancer.
It’s most likely you’ll notice a pain or lump in your stomach or back passage.
See your GP if it doesn’t go away, or if it affects how you eat or sleep
It's people like the team at The Royal Marsden that Dame Debs wants you, the Sun readers, to recognise by nominating your heroes in this year’s awards.
Whether it’s your local GP who refused to give up, the paramedic who brought you back to life, or the hospital porter who went beyond the call of duty, we want to hear from you.
Last year’s awards saw nominees honoured by Prince William, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and David Beckham in a star-studded ceremony screened on Channel 4 and hosted by Davina McCall.
Debs added: "I am in awe of the NHS, The Who Cares Wins Awards are the perfect opportunity to ‘big up’ heroes like these.
“Over the years I’ve been so honoured to be a judge at the awards, present awards and meet all the incredible nominees. It’s an incredible event and gives us all the chance to give our NHS heroes the recognition they deserve.
- Dame Debs' In The Style collection will be available through the app
- To pre-order Deborah's book visit Amazon
- Her t-shirt is still available through In the Style in sizes 6-28
- The Dame Deborah James rose, Bare Root, is available at World of Roses
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“It goes without saying that I will forever be in debt to the incredible team that have cared for me at The Royal Marsden hospital in Surrey.
“No one doctor, nurse or specialist has kept me alive for the last five years, it’s taken an army."
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