On the day of my diagnosis, I did several things. First, I sat on a bench outside the hospital, my head on my knees, crying uncontrollably, as my partner quietly kept his arms around me. I stayed like that for some time before suddenly sitting upright and asking him if he would marry me.
The Cancer Drugs Fund gave me access to the drugs I needed to shrink my tumour and enabled a team of highly skilled and courageous surgeons to prolong my life not just for a few months but for many years... So how do you think I felt when I discovered that the drug that saved by life would, along with a number of other drugs and treatments, no longer be available to cancer patients?
Undergoing cancer treatment and living with or beyond cancer is no mean feat. It can take single-minded determination to deal with treatment and its side effects, as well as life-long uncertainty and a roller coaster of unexpected mixed emotions.
Everyone wants to believe he is immune to cancer, especially the young. But it is time that we abandoned the false sense of security inherent in the myth that we are too young for cancer. Doing so would lower the rate of late-stage diagnoses, improve outcomes, and create more inclusive and supportive communities for patients and survivors.
Once upon a time there was a beautiful teenage girl who had everything to live for and a bright future ahead.. Then she began to experience severe abdominal pain and irregular bleeding.. She was sensible and body conscious and went to her doctor immediately.
You and I both know that charities are great at churning out stats, but with one in eight men (and an astonishing one in four black men) affected by prostate cancer in their lifetime, these numbers quickly become brothers, best mates, uncles, grandfathers, and even sons.
Up until last spring I had been enjoying life as a healthy gym bunny, always outgoing and taking on everything life had to offer. I had noticed I'd been feeling more tired lately, and had a feeling that something wasn't right - but I never expected to hear the C word.
Kate Gross, my friend and our founding CEO in AGI, died on Christmas day after a two year battle with cancer. Our last conversation was some weeks before, sitting in the November sun in Cambridge. She knew the chemo was coming to an end and we both knew what came next. But that wasn't what we talked about.
So when I began to have irregular periods I put it down to coming off the contraceptive pill, after all I had only just had my routine PAP with clear results! With that security I felt like, I'm guessing most people do, it will never happen to me...! I was wrong...
To come to the realisation that you have cancer and that there is a chance I won't survive - that I won't see my kids grow up is overwhelming. I was also convinced the cancer would spread, that with every ache and pain the cancer had returned.
When the first #SmearForSmear selfies started popping up on my newsfeed, I couldn't help but let out a disappointed groan. For me, the suggestion that women need yet another thinly-related social media campaign to make them take their health seriously is all a bit patronising.
I hope that this generation learn from us; look after your health, it is the most important asset you have. You may think that your health and your fertility is a given and that when you decide it's the right time to have a baby it will somehow just happen.
In my dance with the dreaded C word, strange things have happened. This journey isn't one on which the expected happens, simply by the fact that its nature is to be unexpected. No one expects to have cancer, especially young...
It's every mother's greatest fear that she will have to leave her children. My daughter Kate Gross lived with that fear for more than two years, before she died of colon cancer a few weeks ago. I wish she was here now so I could tell her that the boys are getting on just fine. Oscar and Isaac were three when Kate was first diagnosed. Twins, but very different little beings. Oscar dark-haired, violet-eyed, solid - and with an astonishing ability (in Kate's words) to 'focus on things, to know them utterly'. Isaac, blond and agile and restless. 'Each of them,' she says, 'carved out his own space in my heart, a space which fits him exactly.'
Prevention treatment as with cancer and other illnesses is the key to better health. Specialist units need to be available for everybody with mental health problems, because early prevention helps with the cure.
It's here again: Blue Monday - the start of the third week in January is allegedly the most depressing day of the year. There's no actual scientific evidence to back this up but it's the kind of theory that feels true whether there's any real science behind it or not.