“Check Your Poo”: Message From Woman Who Died At 40 Lives On

Dame Deborah James lost her battle with bowel cancer in June 2022 at the age of 40 years old. She left behind her husband and two children, but first, she took advantage of every opportunity she could to urge others to “check your poo, it could save your life.” In fact, those were her parting words on this earth.

In 2016, James was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer. She was shocked at the diagnosis, and she truly wanted to do everything she could to prevent others from going through what she was going through.

Before James started sharing her fight against bowel cancer, which is also called colon cancer or colorectal cancer, not many people talked about it outside of hospitals. That doesn’t mean it’s not a serious type of cancer. In fact, in the UK, it’s the 3rd most common type of cancer among women and is responsible for approximately 16,500 deaths each and every year.

James’ legacy is truly the impact she had when raising awareness about bowel cancer. In fact, in May 2022, when she announced that she was going to begin end-of-life care at her home, bowel cancer donations increased by 300%.

In the months leading up to her death, James also participated in making a documentary about her fight against bowel cancer. The documentary “Bowelbabe: Dame Deborah James, in her own words” includes posts from her TikTok and Instagram accounts plus interviews and even her final message on the podcast “You, Me and the Big C.”

In that final podcast episode, James not only told listeners to “check your poo,” she also shared another equally important message. She said, “Please, please enjoy life. It’s so precious.”

One year after her death, James is still making a difference. Lisa Wilde, director of research and external affairs for Bowel Cancer UK said, “We believe there is absolutely a link between her campaigning and progress being made in the medical sphere.” Wilde added, “Her final message was to ‘check your poo’ and the data shows that people have been doing just that.”