Dame Deborah James' book reaches number one in the UK charts | The Sun

DAME Deborah James' book has reached number one in the UK charts, new figures have revealed.

The Sun writer had rushed to publish 'How To Live When You Could Be Dead', during the final weeks of her life.

Now, the book has sold 40,878 copies following its release on Thursday last week, according to Nielsen BookScan's Total Consumer Market.

It's also become the bestselling non-fiction debut book of 2022 so far.

Bowel cancer campaigner Debs had been living at her parents' house in Woking, Surrey in the weeks leading up to her death on June 28.

After she revealed she had been moved to end of life care in May, Debs furiously set to work to finish the book – co-writing the final chapters with her husband, Sebastien Bowen.

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Her mum Heather, recently appeared on Lorraine to talk about her daughter's book.

In a promotional video, filmed before Deborah's death, the mum-of-two urged people to grab those little moments 'whenever we see them'.

The video moves on to show Debs dancing with her daughter Eloise.

Debs continues: "Soak up the good times, any way you can.

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"You may find yourself on a pathway that you didn't want to go down, but sometimes it's ok to adjust your expectations and keep walking to those dreams anyway."

We then see Debs walking around a garden picking flowers, before she issues her final note.

"But if you're having a bad day today, remember tomorrow might just be that good day that you need", she said.

Sam Jackson, editorial director at Vermilion books, said: "I am so thrilled that How To Live When You Could Be Dead has become the number one bestselling nonfiction book.

"It was Deborah's dream to write a huge bestseller in the self-help space and it's been such a privilege to help make this a reality.

"This is by far my proudest publishing moment and I am delighted that Deborah's inspiring and transformative perspective will help so many people."

Mum Heather then explained it took her daughter two years to write the book, and added that the last two chapters had been emotional for her to read.

She said: "The last two chapters were done at our house in the last few weeks of her life.

"It wasn't the ending she expected when she started the book two years ago but she didn't know how long she would have.

"But she had two years which were amazing. I've read the last chapters now and they are very emotional."

Bowel cancer symptoms to speak to your GP about:

The five red-flag symptoms of bowel cancer include:

  • Bleeding from the back passage, or blood in your poo
  • A change in your normal toilet habits – going more frequently for example
  • Pain or a lump in your tummy
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Losing weight

Tumours in the bowel typically bleed, which can cause a shortage of red blood cells, known as anaemia. It can cause tiredness and sometimes breathlessness.

In some cases bowel cancer can block the bowel, this is known as a bowel obstruction.

Other signs of bowel cancer include:

  • Gripping pains in the abdomen
  • Feeling bloated
  • Constipation and being unable to pass wind
  • Being sick
  • Feeling like you need to strain – like doing a number two – but after you've been to the loo

Debs, known as BowelBabe to her legions of Instagram fans, was diagnosed with incurable bowel cancer just days before Christmas in 2016, at the age of 35.

After learning in May that she would receive end-of-life hospice care, she began fundraising in earnest – with the total now topping an astonishing £7.4million.

Despite being told she had an eight per cent chance of living five years, Deborah defied the odds stacked against her.

After celebrating her 40th birthday last October – a birthday she never dreamed she would live to see – the brave campaigner marked the five-year milestone a few months later.

Deborah shared every step of her journey with Sun readers in her column Things Cancer Made Me Say and her army of loyal social media followers.

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She went on to present the award-winning BBC podcast You, Me and the Big C with fellow cancer patients Rachael Bland, who passed away in September 2018, Lauren Mahon and Rachael’s husband Steve.

In the five-and-a-half years since her diagnosis Deborah changed the conversation around bowel cancer, raising vital awareness and breaking down taboos.

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