Dad fighting cancer for seventh time in 16 years | Health & Fitness

Dad fighting cancer for seventh time in 16 years | Health & Fitness

SIX time cancer survivor calls for change as he fights disease for a seventh time

David Leavesley, 70, with his wife Dee. (Cancer Research UK via SWNS)

By Isobel Williams via SWNS

A dad who has been treated for cancer SEVEN times says tackling the disease should be a top priority for the new government.

David Leavesley, 70, says cancer “is the defining health issue” of our time.

The dad-of-two from Chartham, Kent, who is retired from a career in Customs & Excise, said: “For thousands of people like me, our lives are touched by the disease and the numbers are only growing.

“That is why we must make sure cancer is at the forefront of the minds of all future MPs.”

David was first diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008 and underwent surgery, radiotherapy and hormone therapy.

All was well until August 2019 which saw the start of three and a half years of further diagnosis and grueling cancer treatment.

This included colon cancer, a brain tumor, an abdominal tumor, a liver tumor, and cancer in lymph nodes, and peritoneum, for which David is still ongoing treatment.

David’s treatment has included drugs that Cancer Research UK helped to develop, making him a passionate champion of research as it has enabled him to spend more time with his two daughters– one of which has had four bouts of cancer and three benign brain tumors herself.

His call comes as new analysis from the charity revealed around 314,000 people in the South East are projected to be diagnosed with cancer in the next five years.

They also discovered that, within five years, the next UK Government could help prevent around 800 deaths from cancer in the same area.

This is why David is backing Cancer Research UK’s Turning Point for Cancer campaign and is calling on people in the South East to email their local parliamentary candidates about making cancer treatment a priority.

He added: “Many people still think of cancer as a death sentence. But I’m being treated for the seventh time and whilst the doctors treat me, I’m getting on with my life and enjoying more time with my family.

“It is a bumpy road, but thanks to advances in treatment, helped by organizations like Cancer Research UK, I’m still here to tell the story and hopefully give encouragement, belief and hope to others in a similar situation.” 

SIX time cancer survivor calls for change as he fights disease for a seventh time

David Leavesley, 70, is fighting cancer for the seventh time. (Cancer Research UK via SWNS)

David is now undergoing further immunotherapy treatment and doing well but has suffered side effects ranging from incontinence, impotence and tinnitus to tiredness and joint aches.

However, he still has a good attitude, adding: “I always say my colon has a lot to answer for! And the side effects can be tough. But my approach is: you have to be here to have the side effects, and I’m very glad I am still here.

“And with this campaign, I’d like to play a small part in helping to create a future that protects my loved ones, and others too.

“My treatment would not be possible without advances in research. It’s distressing to think how many friends, family and colleagues could be affected by the fall-out if we don’t speed up progress in the fight against cancer. ”

He continued: “With so many challenges and funding issues surrounding cancer research and care, it’s vital that saving lives comes before politics.

“When you hear those terrible words, ‘It’s cancer,’ all you want to know is you – or your loved one – have the best possible chance of surviving.

“Whoever wins the general election, the next UK Government must help make this a reality for cancer patients everywhere.” 

Famous faces such as John Bishop, Adam Kay, Stephen Graham and Daisy Edgar-Jones have also shown their support for the charity’s campaign.

Cancer Research UK’s spokesperson for the South East, Lynn Daly, said: “Nearly 1 in 2 people will get cancer in their lifetime. It affects every family, in every constituency.

“So, as political parties reach out to the country, there’s never been a better opportunity to come together and demand the action people affected by the disease so desperately need and deserve.

“This general election must be a turning point for cancer.  


“We’re grateful to David for joining the groundswell of supporters, scientists and stars who are backing our campaign and hope his story will inspire people across the South East to have their say by emailing their local candidates.  


“The entire cancer community is calling for the next UK Government to introduce a bold and long-term plan to prevent future cancers and improve survival. 


“Urgent action to tackle the disease will mean more life-saving research, more people diagnosed and treated earlier, and ultimately, more people in the region living longer, better lives.”  

To take part in the Turning Point for Cancer Campaign visit here.

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