"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
It is because cabbage contains the chemical indole-3-carbinol that it is particularly valuable for the prevention of breast cancer. This is because most breast cancers grow on the female hormone oestrogen of which there are many types.
When one of my closest friends, Rachel, was diagnosed with breast cancer just before Christmas a few years ago, I was speechless and didn't know what I could possibly do to make her feel better.
When I received a call from the hospital the day before Halloween asking me to come in tomorrow, it now seems stupidly naive to have assumed that I was being invited for a routine appointment. I wasn't ready psychologically or practically to be told that I had cancer.
The BBC's Victoria Derbyshire has recently started chemotherapy for her breast cancer. She like many women (and men) has started losing her hair and as a result is wearing a wig. Why can hair loss be such a big deal and so traumatic, and what can we do to deal with it well? Allow me to share some of my own experience.
We take it for granted, a social convention, wishing a Happy New Year. This year the words did not flow for me. I was visiting a close relative, about my age, recently diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer and undergoing a severe treatment regime.
During the past 20 years, I've had the pleasure of traveling the world to spread messages about breast health, education and the importance of medical research to find a cure, and I've felt such a strong, universal desire and need to make a difference in this fight that truly spans countries, languages and experiences. .
Three months ago my wife died of ovarian cancer, after a three year battle to try to overcome her illness. Her name was Beata and she was just 41 years old - a beautiful young woman with a beautiful spirit, full of love, kindness and excitement about the wonders of life.
A day later the results were back and it wasn't good news. It was cancer. I was totally stunned and broke down in tears. We were all shell shocked - I never in my wildest dreams thought it would be cancer.