When I was asked to support World Cancer Day and take part in the nude shoot I was apprehensive at first, however I knew that I wanted to do everything that I could to support the campaign.
Cancer is a genomic disease. It's caused by changes in our DNA, our genome, which make cells grow and divide uncontrollably. We are sequencing the genomes of cancer patients both from tumour and healthy cells. By comparing the two we will be able to understand more about what is causing their cancer and which treatments might work best.
This World Cancer Day, if you do nothing else, please just check yourself for any suspicious lumps or bumps... Catching cancer early can increase your chances of recovery. Life gets busy and it's so easy to procrastinate these not-so-fun tasks, but please take it from me: it's important.
To raise awareness of the condition which could have taken my life, I took part in a 'naked' photoshoot ahead of World Cancer Day. It was really bizarre being butt naked in a room full of strangers, but it was a good laugh!
The 4th February 2016 was World Cancer Day - a day to reflect on how cancer impacts our lives. I'm sure that many of us, including me, will be thinking about loved ones we've lost or who are living with cancer right now, but it's also a time to think about what we could do to bring forward the day when we no longer live in fear of cancer.
On a good day, it doesn't matter to read or hear about cancer. On a good day, we may feel outspoken, passionate, alive, with a positive sense of presence and future, and then it is great to be part of a wider cause.
You may be concerned about your first screening and you might have a few questions that you are unsure about. I have answered some of the commonly asked questions around cervical cancer screening.
When I ordered new bedding (my new place has a bigger bed), it reminded me of that day I spent with Mum in York. A happy memory, but a memory nonetheless, one that can never be repeated. Packing up my things, I relived moments that have happened in that room. It was my home, my safe place, throughout Mum's illness.
"I could never do that", is the most common response when I say I work for Macmillan Cancer Support and speak to people affected by cancer every day. Why would you like to work with such sad (some might say depressing) subject matter?
Cancer affects everyone. That's the hard cold truth. Whether it be the people you know, the Bowie's of the world or the strangers we just walk by on the street, we are all susceptible to it, but we never really think it will ever happen to us or threaten the lives of our loved ones. Not now...not even soon. At least I never thought it would happen to me when it did.
How liberating it is to not have to push your glasses up your nose every 2 seconds! Now I've overcome my fear of poking my eyes out, I've begun to enjoy the little details that have, for years, remained out of focus.
I was upset. It was the headline: 'David Bowie dead at 69 after secret 18-month battle with cancer'. Because for me it was far too close to home. All I could think of was my Mum, I couldn't help it. The facts were identical.
Watching the person I love die slowly in front me of me was excruciating. The whole scenario of coming into a place where you just had to lie there and wait to die was hideous and the enormity of the situation was impossible to comprehend.
Whilst realisation of your death was sinking in during those grey, cold January days of 2016, many of us went on with our day jobs. At the beginning of that week I had a discussion with a hospital patient, facing the end of her life. We discussed your death and your music, and it got us talking about numerous weighty subjects, that are not always straightforward to discuss with someone facing their own demise. In fact, your story became a way for us to communicate very openly about death, something many doctors and nurses struggle to introduce as a topic of conversation.
Yesterday morning I heard that David Bowie had died of cancer, aged 69. Yesterday afternoon I spent a grateful and contented hour walking and talking with my darling Dad. He is convalescing from an operation to remove a cancerous tumour, he is 69, thankfully he's going to be OK.
For me his last artistic and life effort, his last album 'Black Star', the lyrics and related video, released on his birthday (Friday 8th January 2016), two days before his death, all this carries a deep meaning and powerful message about determination and energy