“I was diagnosed with stage four cancer in 2010. It was non-Hodgkin lymphoma, which is a blood cancer.
It was heartbreaking news. I was there with my partner, now of 21 years, and we both cried our eyes out. But that’s how it is.
As a gay man, I did wonder whether or not the cancer was caused by my lifestyle; all of the clubbing and partying and fun that I had, not looking after myself properly.
But I was assured by the doctors all the time that it was not because of who I am; this is just something that I have got.
If you or anyone you know is going through cancer then you should reach out to Macmillan Cancer Support, reach out to Cancer is a Drag, reach out to your friends and family because you don’t have to do this alone and to do this alone is impossible.
When most people hear someone has been diagnosed with cancer, they immediately think that it is a death sentence. They don't seem to realise that there are over two million of us still here!
There also seems to be a misconception that once we have had the treatment we are 'better' and do not appreciate that many of us are still battling with the side effects of having cancer - physically, emotionally, and quite often financially."
Alan launched Cancer Is A Drag, a fundraising group supported by Macmillan, which aims to support people living with cancer from the LGBTQ+ community.
"You don’t have to do this alone and to do this alone is impossible." - Alan
"I could not have gotten through this without the support of my family and friends. They were there every step of the way and I think it brought us closer.
Cancer Voices gave me somewhere I could go to talk to other people who had been through the same things as me and put me in touch with nurses, doctors, support groups.
My advice to anyone else going through a cancer experience would be don’t panic – you are stronger than you think you are."
Helen was first diagnosed with cancer in 1991 and has been diagnosed five more times since then. She's a carrier of the HNPCC gene (Hereditary Non-Polyposis Colorectal Cancer), with a history of multiple cancers in the family due to genetics.
"This is one of those times when it is ok to put yourself first!" - Helen