Dying isn't a decision, and the fight for survival is not a fight, where the more pugilistic are destined to win. I think of Sunny now with her rosary beads, as I last saw her - staunchly convinced that her God would show her mercy. But it doesn't matter how relentlessly optimistic you are - just as it doesn't make any difference how many chia seeds you eat.
I found myself just crying for no real reason, I couldn't sleep, I'd often wake up with tears streaming down my face and I found it really difficult to articulate what was going on. Mortality had smacked me in face again and at least some part of me felt shattered, whether that be my loss of innocence, my sense of who I was, my view on time, my view on what next.
Thank you Teenage Cancer Trust. Even if I spent the rest my life saying thank you it wouldn't be enough, simply because without them I wouldn't be here to say it. From the bottom of my heart, from the top of my head to the tips of my toes, thank you, I love you and I will be forever grateful.
The risk of early death is 40% lower in people consuming more than seven portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Vegetables are especially important, and some studies show that raw vegetables (salads) are particularly protective. The lower risk of early death is primarily due to a lower risk in heart disease. Vegans typically also have lower body weights, lower risk of developing Type II diabetes, and they experience other health benefits.
That's certainly the case for prostate cancer screening in men, according to researchers in Canada who last week recommended scrapping PSA (prostate-specific antigen) testing, even for those considered high risk.
Please before you pass judgement on anyone's quality of life, stop and think. Don't just claim "I couldn't cope", as I really think you could. Pain, like many other trials in life, can be beaten. It can be medically treated and psychologically mastered, with help, and so we need to have a sensible debate on quality of life before we go any further down a road that may be very hard to come back from.
Nisreen and her 13-year-old twin sons evacuated their house in Abasan, Gaza, during the recent 50-day conflict with Israel - and returned to rubble. "We found our house had been bombed and bulldozed. We couldn't even see where it used to be. My sons were so shocked, so sad," says Nisreen. "We lost everything."
Alex and Lee had to fight to save her life - not that they knew that at the time - but that is what it was. If they had been less insistent - less determined to get Alex the right treatment then she might have died. Would other less confident people have managed to save her life that day?
The expression is often used to express regret or in a context of celebration of the deceased, however, it carries ulterior implications, even if they are unintended by the user. Describing people to have 'lost' to cancer suggests that they could have done something differently and the outcome could be changed.
Cancer can be as overwhelming for loved ones as it is for the patient and can sometimes change relationships in unexpected ways, including the effect it can have on marriages and intimate relationships.
Being on a cancer ward for the first time can feel a lot like a torture camp. There are screams in the night from neighbouring rooms, sounds of retching; there are unfamiliar figures arriving with sharp instruments and toxic substances.
Like no doubt others before and after her will make very personal and difficult choices, I get the impression Lynda Bellingham managed to make peace with cancer and herself. Perhaps we need peace to make truly positive life changing and life enhancing choices, especially when they are about our death.
How come we don't know when to give up and when to keep going? What price are we willing to pay for life? Would we do whatever it takes to prolong it? Should we be allowed to determine when to stop treatment, when we or a relative become seriously ill?
It's been well documented that one of my best friends, Ross Hutchins, was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma a few years ago. Ross and I had grown up together on the tennis circuit, and his diagnosis was devastating. He was treated with chemotherapy at the Royal Marsden Hospital and a year after his diagnosis, his cancer went into remission. He's now fit and well to this day - a testimony to the crucial advances we've made in cancer treatment thanks to ground-breaking research into the illness. But not everyone is so lucky. At the beginning Elena Baltacha, the former British number one, was diagnosed with cancer of the liver. She died in May, at the age of 30.
We're benefitting the medical world, whilst getting to know our own bodies better, in turn (hopefully) making them healthier - it's WIN WIN all round. Who knew sharing a womb could be so salubrious?!
I love fundraisng, I've said it once again. Love it when people do challenges to fundraise on my behalf, love arranging fundraisers, love seeing the generosity of others and love hearing about others who fundraise.