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The secret truth about cancer

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Paul McMullanMy house, Deal, Kent
The secret truth about cancer
It is not what the newspapers lead you to believe......

If your only information about the world came from newspapers, it would be easy to believe that people with cancer have happy romantic final moments.

Stories about couples, hopelessly in love, getting married on his or her death bed are rife.

The reality is brutally different.

Wives divorce you, girlfriend’s leave you, subtly. 

Not because of the cancer, you understand. Not because you have diarrhoea most of the time due to the chemo. Not because you can hardly get out of bed you are so tired. Not because your skin has gone yellow. Not because you can’t drink or smoke or party anymore. Not, of course, because you can’t have sex anymore because chemo also takes that away from you.

No, there is always some other reason.

I suppose, it is not surprising those stories don’t get reported.

But it is much worse than that. 

Ex-wives you haven’t heard from for years come out of the woodwork to put the knife in, destroying the tiny bit of life you have left

The majority of friends and family instead of gathering round sympathetically, quite simply line up to kick you. I have had more physical threats since I was diagnosed with cancer than I had as a News of the World reporter.

It is natural. When the old lion is dying, the young rogue males see opportunity, the hyenas circle and the lionesses, no longer safely protected, slink away with new mates.

Cancer is a bitter, nasty, lonely death. It is not karma, it is just what happens. The marriages you see triumphed as true love in The Sun and the Daily Mail are just attempts to avoid inheritance tax and make money from the dying.

There is nothing worse than a cancer patient who clings on. For heaven’s sake just go and give us your house.

You might have thought British justice would give some dignity to the dying. If you thought that, you would be wrong.

Cancer is an acceptable reason for the family court to rip your children from your arms. No, you can die on your own, it is better your children are not exposed to it. Social workers are evil. I am not allowed to use the c-word but feel free to substitute it for evil.

If you are lucky enough to have a mum and a dad and a close relationship with brother’s and sister’s, they will look after you. Everyone else is a fraud.

I always wondered why a girl I once knew kept coming to see me in hospital, then I realised how much fun it must be, travelling up to Central London, talking to consultants and specialists. You are quite feted when you come to see the terminally ill. It is a little adventure and quite a lot of drama, like being in a mini-episode of ER but for real. No one is acting and patients are expiring, dying right before you eyes. Blimey.

And they get all the hugs and cuddles! 

Oh it must be so difficult with your poor boyfriend dying of cancer, however do you cope. Have a hug. What about the poor bloody boyfriend dying of cancer. He is not coping very well.

One great thing about cancer is you invariably get to lose all your hair, it is a real mark of suffering. If you can walk up and down holding the hand of a very thin man, or a very thin woman without any hair, everyone will think just how wonderful you are, sticking by them. There goes beauty and the beast, they might say.

But what do you do when you have cancer? Is it not better to have a girlfriend, who you know is getting off on your suffering, than to have no girlfriend at all.

I lost my girlfriend when I was getting better. Oh, I am sorry love, I am not dying quite a quickly as expected. You know that thing the doctor said about having six months to live, well, it has just gone up to six and a half years.

Fucking hell, she said and left.


It takes two and in reality I pushed her to go. I had to.

I wonder why people don’t tell the truth in newspapers. Why do we pander to people’s expectations?

As I previously mentioned I spent a long time in Paris following Kylie Minogue when she had no hair, looking for that million dollar shot.

Her boyfriend was the lucky, lucky, lucky one. Worldwide coverage of me also? A struggling actor? Please no not at this delicate time.

And when she got better he left her. Or was pushed too. I have been writing celebrity stories for 30 years and most of it is guessing, you never really know what goes on in someone's bedroom. But they split up. It seems to be what happens.

I must say, I laughed out loud while writing this article. It really cheered me up. 

#Cancer, #Girls who leave you, #Love story not, #news of the world