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25-Jul-2015 21:19

Now, 24 years later, he’s still alive and well – and passionate about giving hope that there’s life after cancer.

Two years ago he set up The Cancer Survivors Club website to collect other survivors’ stories, which have now been published in his book.

“People who were once irritating ceased to be – not because they had changed but because I was more open-minded,” says Andrea Paine, who was diagnosed with breast cancer at 45.

“I don’t let things or people get to me as much as I once did.”Your true friends may surprise you Many cancer patients discover people they thought were good friends melt away after diagnosis, whereas others they wouldn’t consider as close step up.

I still have the stresses of everyday life but I never forget I’m lucky to have another chance.”Material things don’t matter“That credit card bill I used to worry about every month suddenly wasn’t an issue – it would get sorted out,” says Chris.

“I also wasn’t bothered how much I earned any more.

It’s sad that it should take cancer to do this – perhaps everyone can learn from our stories.”You are stronger than you know“People often told me how brave I was,” says Claire Duffett, from Bristol, who was 32 when diagnosed with breast cancer five years ago.

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“I never put up with rubbish from people or waste time doing jobs I hate.“Some friends even avoided me and my family, which at the time I didn’t understand,” says Katie Patterson, from South Wales, who was 20 when she had leukaemia five years ago.“I now understand different people deal with situations differently.”You can learn confidence Confidence isn’t something you either have or you don’t have; it can grow out of situations where you have no choice but to push on.“These things may have given me joy before but I now notice them more and have a new-found tendency to see the glass half-full.”Who cares what they think So much of our lives are governed by what other people think of us – from our job to our clothes or how we bring up our children.

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But when you have survived cancer you don’t care as much; you are far more attuned to what you truly want from life.

God forbid you get cancer, but I guarantee you will find an inner strength to deal with it.” Why waste time? “If I’m awake I have to get up, which drives my wife Catherine mad as sometimes it’s 4am.