Dame Deborah



Dame Deborah James was diagnosed with bowel cancer in December 2016, aged 35. 

A busy teacher and mum of two, her initial symptoms included fatigue, losing weight and passing blood, and she underwent an initial colonoscopy which revealed a 5.5cm tumour.  

She had surgery, and then began years of treatment which included chemotherapy and radiotherapy.  

However, the cancer spread to other organs including her lungs, requiring further operations and other innovative treatments including Cyberknife and Nanoknife.


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Known to many as “Bowel Babe”, Dame Deborah was passionate about research and tirelessly worked to raise awareness of cancer as a writer, reporter and broadcaster. 

Alongside her continuing treatment, her impact grew and grew through her newspaper column in The Sun, the “You Me and the Big C” podcast, and BBC’s Panorama, as well as countless fundraising events and campaigns including Stand Up To Cancer.   

Her attitude, honesty and humour captured people’s attention, and she opened up discussions on taboo subjects such as end-of-life care.  

Dame Deborah sadly died in June 2022, surrounded by her family. 

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