The bowel cancer campaigner and podcaster, Dame Deborah James, has sadly died aged 40. She raised millions for cancer research and was an inspiration to all.

Dame Deborah James leaves a huge legacy after shining a light on what had previously been one of the less-publicised cancers.

The proud mother-of-two, who was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2016, uplifted so many throughout her struggles; raising awareness, breaking barriers and changing the conversation around cancer.

No-nonsense, resilient and strong-willed, Deborah was the pioneering face, heart and soul of the disease and she will be remembered for her tireless efforts to challenge taboos surrounding the illness.

A statement posted by her family on Instagram said: “Deborah, who many of you will know as Bowelbabe, was an inspiration and we are incredibly proud of her and her work and commitment to charitable campaigning, fundraising and her endless efforts to raise awareness of cancer that touched so many lives.

“Deborah shared her experience with the world to raise awareness, break down barriers, challenge taboos and change the conversation around cancer.”

The statement concluded, “And a few final things from Deborah…’find a life worth enjoying; take risks; love deeply; have no regrets; and always, always have rebellious hope. And finally, check your poo – it could just save your life.’”

You can donate to the Bowelbabe fund here.

The symptoms of bowel cancer can include:

  • Bleeding from your bottom and/or blood in your poo
  • A persistent and unexplained change in bowel habit
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Extreme tiredness for no obvious reason
  • A pain or lump in your tummy

Most people with these symptoms don’t have bowel cancer. Other health problems can cause similar symptoms. But if you have any of these, or if things just don’t feel right, go to see your GP. You may need to visit your doctor more than once if your symptoms don’t get better.

Find out more about bowel cancer here.