Entertainment & Arts

BBC newsreader George Alagiah 'clear of cancer' and back to work

George Alagiah

Newsreader George Alagiah has said he is clear of cancer and ready to "get back on air" after his chemotherapy treatment was a success.

The presenter of BBC One's News at Six and GMT on BBC World News was diagnosed with bowel cancer, which had spread to his liver and lymph nodes, last April.

Alagiah, 58, told the Daily Mail, "I'm feeling really good. I have more energy every day, and feel stronger."

He will return to the News at Six on Tuesday, the BBC confirmed.

The Sri Lanka-born journalist said it was "wonderful" to be getting back to work, but added that he would "take it easy at first".

"All I can say is right now I don't have cancer, but my life from now on will be punctuated by scans every three months," he said.

"And if somebody tells me I'm finally cured, it's likely to be years away."

'Hammer blow'

Alagiah said the support from viewers had been "incredible" and that he wanted to get back on air "for my audience".

"I received hundreds of letters from viewers while I was ill, in which they talked as if we knew each other," he said.

Bowel cancer is the third most common type of cancer in men, behind prostate and lung and Alagiah had been diagnosed as 'Stage Four' - the most advanced.

His treatment involved two rounds of chemotherapy and several operations.

"When the oncologist was looking at my scan, he kept gently shaking his head, and every time he did it was like a hammer blow," revealed Alagiah.

"They described my condition as 'serious', and I knew it was as bad as it gets."

Alagiah first joined the BBC in 1989 after working as a print journalist and spent many years as one of the BBC's leading foreign correspondents before moving to presenting.

He reported on events such as the genocide in Rwanda and the conflict in Kosovo and was made an OBE in 2008's New Year Honours.

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