Cancer patients need more understanding

David Murten, from Caterall, who has beaten lung cancer, but is now suffering from stomach cancer.
David Murten, from Caterall, who has beaten lung cancer, but is now suffering from stomach cancer.
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A CANCER sufferer wants to spread the message that cancer patients need support, and the worst thing people can do is avoid them.

Dave Murten, was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2005, and stomach cancer last year, and says cancer patients can become isolated as they struggle to deal with the side-effects of treatment.

The 65-year-old father-of-one, of Garstang, said: “We often read reports of celebrities dying from cancer, or on a good note, as with Michael Douglas, saying they have beaten cancer.

“But there is a lack of understanding among the general public about cancer.

“A better understanding would help patients come to terms with treatment and side effects – some serious ones.

“My message to people is – cancer is not contagious.

“During my treatments I was allowed the occasional pint, but I was very upset about the attitude of regulars in my local.

“When I entered the pub, a few people would find any excuse to move away, as if I had the plague.

“No amount of talking about my condition would convince them they wouldn’t catch anything from me.”

Mr Murten, a former-steward at Blackpool Park Golf Club, was rushed into Blackpool Victoria Hospital in 2005, with serious breathing problems, and doctors found a tumour on his right lung. He had to undergo gruelling chemo and radiotherapy.

He said: “I was fortunate the shadow on my lung was discovered by accident, and very early in the cancer’s growth, so the treatment was sufficient to shrink it and radiotherapy destroyed the remainder.

“Research shows even when a patient with lung cancer is cleared and given the okay, only one in 20 will be alive in five years’ time.

“It is six years since I was diagnosed, and eventually cleared of my lung cancer, so I am one of the fortunate one in 20.”

But Mr Murten, who lives with wife Susan, was diagnosed with stomach cancer last year. The tumour was inoperable, so surgeons had to perform a stomach bypass, as the cancer was blocking his stomach.

Mr Murten is now hoping six three-week courses of chemotherapy will have shrunk the tumour.

He added: “I want people to please remember, if you know anyone with cancer, it may kill them, it may hopefully be curable, but one thing is for certain – it will not be catching.

“Give them a big hug.”