My cancer diagnosis and 'beating cancer' blog

29 Apr 2011

 My apologies for diverting from the usual subject matter of education, but as I know many of the readers of this blog well (and feel I know many more of you who read it and comment on it) I hope you will forgive one item of personal news.

A few weeks ago I was diagnosed with lung cancer. For someone who has never smoked, it was a huge shock. It has also been a big shock for my family. All the more so as not long before I had been assured by doctors that the cough that was troubling me was NOT cancer. 

For some people cancer is, rightly and understandably, a very private and personal matter. But I have decided to be open and public about it. After some initial hesitation, and after asking the views of my wife and daughters, I have decided to write a 'beating cancer' blog elsewhere on this website. In it I intend to be as honest as possible about the progress of my treatment.

I won't say much more here as, in the first entry, I explain why I have decided to do this and anyone who would like to follow my progress will be able to do so quite separately from the education news and analysis service, which I intend to maintain as fully as possible. It is also my intention to maintain, as far as the chemotherapy allows, my broadcasting, journalism and other activities.

I will just say, though, that one of my hopes is to explore and explain the many complementary anti-cancer approaches I will be trying in the hope this might be useful to others.

On each entry in the blog there is (as here) a comment box and I would greatly welcome your views, suggestions and reactions.

Thanks for reading this far....and now normal education service will  be resumed on this part of the website. 



User Comments

Jan Chambers - 29 Apr 2011

Cancer blog

All my best wishes for you and your family. I will certainly read your blogs with interest. Thank you for sharing this.

Simon Faull - 29 Apr 2011

Cancer blog

My thoughts are with you and your family. Thank you for sharing this - I am sure that your blog will both provide and be a source of great support.
With every best wish

Clare Claxton - 29 Apr 2011

Revealing that you have cancer

I am so sorry Mike but I am sure if anyone can beat it, you can! In your darker moments please believe how useful your blogs are to members of leadership teams up and down the country in terms of keeping them up to date with education policy.

meilin - 29 Apr 2011

beating cancer blog

Mike- this is such a shock, Thoughts with you, Chrissy and the girls

Kathryn Booth - 29 Apr 2011

Thank you

Thank you for deciding to write the blog. When you are having chemo work with it & rest when you feel you need it - we will all be thinking of you and understand.

Rosemary Stewart - 29 Apr 2011

Beating Cancer Blog.

Hope all goes well for you. Best wishes to you and your family.
Rosemary Stewart

Iftikhar Ahmad - 29 Apr 2011

Cancer Blog


I hope with the Grace of God you will recover soon to carry on with your struggle in the field of education.

Sarah Ebner - 29 Apr 2011

Very best wishes to you and your family Mike. Really hope things go well for you.

Neil Jeffery - 30 Apr 2011

Best wishes to you in the upcoming fight.

Sheer bloody-mindedness can help

Alison Peacock - 30 Apr 2011

What a courageous decision to share your journey back to health with others. You are an inspiration.

Peter Asquith-Cowen - 30 Apr 2011

Beating lung Cancer Blog.

Hi Mike,
So shocked to hear of your bad news, however, there are so many new drugs and treatments available these days,keep fighting on. My thoughts and my prayers are with you and your family at this difficult time. You are not the first person I've heard of who has contracted lung cancer and never smoked. This makes it all the more absurd. My aunt never smoked, had her 'worms'(All-Bran) every day,ate fresh fruit regularly and drank very little. She died in 1999, from, guess wha?.......bowel cancer. So one can live carefully, follow the rules, eat sensibly and STILL get cancer. Now it is a matter of addressing the problem, thinking positively and hoping that modern medicine can halt the cancer. I will follow your course and keep responding. Best Wishes, Peter.

tim hayden - 30 Apr 2011

Best wishes to you and your family. I have family going through that battle now. Keep your chin up. thoughts and prayers with you

Nigel de Gruchy - 30 Apr 2011

Your cancer Mike

I was devastated to read your news on arrival back home from the NASUWT Conference and one or two other things. I am lost for words. It seems so inane to urge you to remain positive - so easy to say yet so difficult to do. I recall my own experience many years ago feeling absolutely dreadful after an alarm over a heart condition at one of my biennial medical MOTs which proved fortunately to be absolutely false.
You are right to focus on as many things as possible, including alternative medicine. I have a friend who has beaten cancer with chemo and alternative medicine. I meet a man walking his dog regularly on my local golf course who claims he has overcome cancer using mistletoe (injected). No harm in enquiring about this.
Thanks for being so courageous in going public. That is an inspiration to us all. You are one of the best education journalists I know and I could not think of a person more deserving to win the struggle you face.
My best wishes go to you and of course your family.

Jo - 02 May 2011

Your news

Merde as they say this side of the Channel.. or rather stronger but dont want to blight the message.
I think you are both wise and brave to do this this way... and I hope that the support that it will inevitably create helps you beat it. I hope you also have the very best advice out there.
Much love and thoughts to you Chrissy and the girls... if there is anything I can do, please do say so.
Much love

Peter Asquith-Cowen - 03 May 2011

The May 5th Elections.

Hi Mike,
May I send you my best wishes in your fight against cancer. I thoroughly endorse all of Ngel de Gruchy's comments. I am a member (retired) of the NASUWT, and have met Nigel on a number of occasions, once in Hull @ "The Goodfellowship Inn" when my car was broken into. you remember the occasion?
Now, Mike, I am standing along with Michael Cassidy for the English Democrats in my ward (Tranby) I have acheing limbs and sore feet with the exercise of leafleting every house in the ward. I am listening to council leaders speaking on the radio (Radio Humberside)I feel it is obscene and totally immoral that English students will have to pay £36,000 over a four-year degree course, admittedly this is not charged up front, only when they start earning upwards of £25,000. How is that the Scots pay nothing and the Welsh students get approx 75% of their costs paid? I don't know what's happening in Ireland. How can there be one law for the Scots and the Welsh and another for the English. The English students are getting 'The thin end of the wedge'. Further, the abolition of Educational Maintenance Grants will affect poorer families and only the wealthy will be able to afford a university education. I believe David Cameron is continuing the socially disastrous policies first embarked upon by Margaret Thatcher and he is turning the clock back to the poverty-stricken,dole-queue world of the 1930's. I think the Lib/Dems may well face 'Wipeout'on Thursday, and so they should. An Englishman's word is his bond.' Nick Clegg and Vince Cable by their vast betrayal of students prompted the mass demonstrations last November/December. The students are our future as well, and the crazy ideas of Michael Gove make me feel that not only is the economy in a mess, so is Education. This Government is plain barmy if it believes in running the country with a band of willing unpaid volunteers. I think all these mad ideas come from Cameron's "Fantasy Island" and the sooner we get back to reality and send them packing the better. A lot of damage can be done in the next four years. This is a Government for the rich, run by The Establishment, which will make the life of 'Joe Public' more difficult. Now they want to end the Final Salary Scheme for teachers, no wonder the NASUWT and other teacher unions are set on a collision course. Whenever the Tories get into power it always ends with strikes, discord and walk-outs. This is because the Tories don't wan t to spend any money on the people. I will end this long epistle with the words of our local Labour Candidate, George McManus, who doesn't believe there is a genuine economic disaster."There is no reason other than right-wing dogma to slash services and throw thousands of people on to the dole. Tory ideaology is masquerading as prudence and the long-term damage will be substantial." I agree, let's hope a General Election has to be called before 2015.
Best Wishes
Peter Asquith-Cowen.
*PS Keep up the fight and keep doing a great job as an Educational Journalist. We need people like you, Mike, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Bernie Groves - 03 May 2011

Cancer Blog

Hi Mike, I read your blog with great interest whenever it comes through. I like you ability to make challenging policies etc. accessible.
Thankyou for telling us about your condition and starting the blog, I am sure your approach will be as helpful with this as it is with all aspects of education. You have taken a very brave stance that will benefit so many people.
Good luck to you. I am sure your positivity will pay off.

Jon Ellis - 03 May 2011


Mike, I read your blog regularly and was shocked to read your new post. Hard to find words to express how sad it makes me. Best wishes. Jon

Jessica Shepherd - 03 May 2011

Best wishes

So very sorry to hear this. Wishing you great strength. Jessica

Linda Brouwer - 03 May 2011

Cancer blog

Hi Mike,

I was so sorry to hear about the diagnosis, I can't believe we were joking about it just weeks ago. Thanks for being so open about it and addressing it with a sense of humour. I will definitely read your blog...following you on Twitter as well!

All the best to you and your family!


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