“Being diagnosed with cancer didn’t make me special, it made me normal”

MasterChef 2016 champ Jane Devonshire recalls how her attitude towards food changed after her cancer diagnosis and explains her admiration for cancer survivors who “immerse” themselves in the cancer world

Chef Jane Devonshire

Last year, she tingled the taste buds of tough judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace with her delicious, classic British dishes to be awarded BBC’s MasterChef champion.

Almost two years, later food enthusiast Jane Devonshire is having the time of her life – sharing her culinary skill and knowledge with the masses. But with her incredible win, also came a shocking revelation.

Jane revealed at the end of MasterChef that she had been battling cancer for ten years before appearing on the show. She had chosen not to tell the judges – nor the programme producers – of her story during the competition.

“I did not want my time on MasterChef to be about that,” she explained when she first won. “This is not about cancer but about me – a home cook, an ordinary stay-at-home mum stepping outside her comfort zone and following a lifelong passion for food.”

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A home from home: Finding free accommodation for cancer patients and loved ones during treatment

In the States, there are several charities and organizations that can offer free accommodation and housing assistance for cancer patients and their families

free accommodation for cancer patients and family
There are several charities and organizations that allow you to stay close to loved ones when they’re staying in hospital far from home

No one looks forward to a hospital stay, especially if it means travelling out of town.

Every day, more than 4,500 people in the United States are diagnosed with cancer. Many must travel out-of-state for second opinions, treatment and surgery. Combined with the millions who are already fighting cancer, the need for convenient, caring, and cost-free accommodation for patients’ family members throughout the United States increases every year.

Not having to worry about where to stay or how to pay for lodging allows guests to focus on getting better, and gives family and friends the space to focus on being supportive. To help you find accommodation, we’ve done our homework, and found some fantastic charities and organizations that are dedicated to offering housing assistance for cancer patients and their loved ones.

Unlike a hotel, these facilities also provide opportunities to connect with others going through similar situations.

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Father and daughter who were both diagnosed with breast cancer fought disease side by side

“I felt terrible guilt for passing along this gene to my daughter and possibly to my grandchildren,” says male breast cancer survivor Arnaldo Silva

male breast cancer
Father and daughter Arnaldo and Vanessa Silva

Arnaldo and Vanessa Silva share a close father and daughter bond. They share lunch dates and outings – but unfortunately, they both share something else as well: breast cancer.

“As a man, it’s the last thing that you expect to hear you have when you go to the doctor,” Arnaldo, 67, a retired stationary fireman, tells People magazine, “but I’m proof that it happens. This year alone, 3,000 men will be diagnosed and 400 will die, which I find unacceptable.”

Arnaldo, who was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer in January 2007 after he found a lump beneath his right nipple while showering, is grateful today that he saw a doctor and had a biopsy — not only because it saved his life, but his daughter’s as well. 

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Thousands are now living longer with advanced cancer

living longer with advanced cancer

Cancer charity reveals for the first time the number of people living several years with advanced cancer after being diagnosed at stage 4

There are thousands of people alive in England who have survived for several years with the most advanced stage of cancer, according to new research from Macmillan Cancer Support and Public Health England’s National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service.

The research, revealed yesterday (Nov 8) at the 2017 National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Conference in Liverpool, is based on data from England’s national cancer registry. It shows that at least 17,000 people have survived for two years or more after being diagnosed with stage 4 cancer – the stage at which the disease has already spread to at least one other part of their body.

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Little Jacob’s last Christmas wish: Young cancer patient asks strangers to send him Christmas cards

Jacob Thompson with a penguin Christmas card
Jacob Thompson, 9, with one of the Christmas cards he has been sent

A nine-year-old cancer patient has asked for cards for Christmas after his parents were told he had just weeks to live.

Little Jacob Thompson has been fighting Neuroblastoma, cancer that forms in nerve cells early on, since he was diagnosed at age 5. It has spread to his head and hip, and treatment was deemed unsuccessful.

His mother, Michelle Thompson Simard, wrote on a GoFundMe page that Jacob has been admitted to the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital in Portland, Maine, “for the last time.”

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How to Help Loved Ones Who Are in the Hospital During the Holidays

Whether you or a loved one needs to stay in hospital this festive season, here are some ways to help make it a little more enjoyable

celebrating christmas hospital

For most people, the holidays are all about spending quality time with loved ones, observing religious traditions and reflecting on everything that they have to be grateful for.

But this may seem difficult if you or a loved one has to spend Christmas in the hospital.

For people who reside in long-term care facilities, or are staying at the hospital awaiting a procedure (or recovering from one), spending the holidays in the hospital can be a lonely time. Not only are they feeling left out of the festivities, they’re also away from familiar faces and comforts of home.

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How to help heal the mind and brain during and after cancer

Joint winners announced as the Best Mind & Brain Product at the inaugural Live Better With Spotlight Awards

mind and brain
Photo by Jacob Townsend

When you’re diagnosed with cancer, it’s easy to think about the physical complications the disease brings – from nausea and hair loss to pain and fatigue. But what about the impact on your mental health?

Feelings of depression, anxiety, and fear are very common and are normal responses to this life-changing experience. Many things can cause these feelings. Changes in body image can affect self-esteem and confidence. Family and work roles may be altered. You might also fear death, suffering, pain, or all the unknown things that lie ahead.

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Care + Wear PICC Line Covers: Giving patients a sense of control

Care + Wear PICC Line Covers win  Best Being Comfortable Product prize at the Live Better With Spotlight Awards

picc line cover
Care + Wear PICC Line Covers have been voted the Best Being Comfortable Product

Medical wear brand Care + Wear has been awarded the Best Being Comfortable Product prize for their PICC Line Cover at the inaugural Spotlight Awards by Live Better With.

Below, we spoke to the Care + Wear team to find out more about the brand’s mission:

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“Wearing a stylish hat gives cancer patients the much needed confidence they might have lost”

Chemo Headwear wins Best Hair Loss Product prize at Live Better With’s Spotlight Awards

claire featherstone founder of chemo headwear

Fashion Designer Claire Featherstone has been awarded the Best Cancer Hair Loss Product prize for her hat company, Chemo Headwear, at the inaugural Spotlight Awards by Live Better With.

Chemo Headwear is committed to helping anyone going through chemotherapy and other medical hair loss issues. Their beautiful headscarves, bandannas, turbans and hats are made lovingly by hand.

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“Cancer reinforced that happiness is not how you lie in the sun, it’s how you dance in the rain!”

Tea & Chemo by Jackie Buxton wins Best Cancer Book Prize at Live Better With’s Spotlight Awards

tea & chemo by Jackie Buxton

Blogger and author Jackie Buxton has been awarded the Best Cancer Book prize for her 2015 book, Tea & Chemo: Fighting Cancer, Living Life, at the inaugural Spotlight Awards by Live Better With.

Tea & Chemo is full of laughter, tears, honesty and hope, and offers inspirational words to everyone facing the life challenges that cancer inevitably brings.

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