Bowel cancer champion: Adele Roberts appears on Women's Health cover with stoma bag

·Lifestyle Writer, Yahoo Life UK
·4-min read
Adele Roberts bowel cancer. (Women’s Health UK/Zoe McConnell)
'Being diagnosed with bowel cancer has meant I've learned to appreciate my body,' says Adele Roberts. (Women’s Health UK/Zoe McConnell/PA Media)

Radio 1 DJ Adele Roberts has graced the latest Women's Health cover with a visible stoma bag for her bowel cancer – and she loves her body "more than ever".

Roberts, 43, revealed in October that she has the condition, one of the most common types of cancer in the UK, and that she was due to have surgery to remove the tumour.

This was successful, and she now uses a stoma bag – which she's nicknamed Audrey – and has also been having chemotherapy.

Read more: What is bowel cancer? Signs and and symptoms to be aware of

"Being diagnosed with cancer has meant I've learned to appreciate my body; be grateful that it works; be grateful they found the tumour in time to remove it and be grateful [that modern medicine means I can] have a stoma," she told the magazine for its June issue.

"I feel like I love my body more than ever," she said, a nod to the fact she has previously battled with self-confidence issues after suffering online abuse from trolls.

A stoma is where a section of bowel is brought out through an opening on your stomach (abdomen), the Bowel Cancer UK website explains. Your bowel movements (poo) are collected in a pouch or bag attached to the skin around your stoma.

Read more: UK's four most common cancer types – the signs and symptoms to be aware of

Adele Roberts Women's Health bowel cancer. (Women’s Health UK/Zoe McConnell)
Adele Roberts believes talking about cancer help people deal with it better. (Women’s Health UK/Zoe McConnell/PA Media)

Roberts, who first appeared in the spotlight in the 2002 series of Big Brother, highlights the fact that half of us will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in our lives.

"I think the more we can actually talk about it, the less negatively affected people will be, mentally, if and when that happens," she said.

"That's why it means so much – as someone undergoing cancer treatment and with a visible stoma – to be on the cover of Women's Health."

While she is a beacon for positivity, she understandably spent a lot of time feeling "upset" about her diagnosis, sharing ways she managed to overcome this.

"When I was in hospital, recovering after my surgeries, I would overhear conversations of other women on the ward and learn they had a much worse diagnosis than me – maybe terminal cancer – and that’s when I’d feel down," she explained.

“I think my strategy, so that I can stay stable while I’m on chemotherapy, is just to get on with it and try and not let it beat me mentally.

“Like, I need to sort of tackle it head-on, because that’s how I cope with things, but I understand everyone’s different.”

Roberts has been opening up about her stage two cancer, chemotherapy and stomas on social media and via her blog Me, You & Audrey 2! with the hope of helping others, and raising awareness of the condition.

"THIS IS WHAT WOMEN’S HEALTH looks like," she says, sharing her thoughts on the Women's Health cover on Instagram. "Health is more than just the physical. It’s mental and spiritual and that day I felt ON TOP OF THE WORLD! I’ve never seen a woman on magazine cover with a stoma and on chemotherapy before. What an honour?!"

"I wasn’t really aware of stomas before I got one, I also didn’t really know about bowel cancer. I got told I was ‘probably too young’ to have it," adds Roberts.

Bowel cancer, the general term for cancer that begins in the large bowel, is mostly diagnosed in people over 60, though younger people can get it too.

Read more: Bowel cancer survivor credits Deborah James with helping her cope with diagnosis

Roberts attributes staying positive and healthy, mentally and spiritually, to getting her through her journey with bowel cancer so far.

"Thanks to the brilliance of the @NHS, the kindness and beauty of people – you've restored my faith in social media – my incredible family – & most of all my first, my last, my everything, my @KateHolderness & my little stoma Audrey. You've both saved my life."

Roberts and her partner Kate Holderness celebrated their 18-year anniversary in February.

The June issue of Women's Health on newsstands from Tuesday 24th May.

Watch: Deborah James' BowelBabe fund raises more than 2.5m as tributes pour in

Additional reporting PA.

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