CAMPAIGNER Clive Stone says he will use his new Oxford Mail column, which starts tomorrow, to champion cancer sufferers’ needs, empower people to get the drugs they need and hold politicians to account.
Mr Stonebegan campaigning on behalf of other patients after being diagnosed with kidney cancer.
He fought and won a battle with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) in 2010 to get state funding for life-extending drug Sunitinib, and the same year persuaded Prime Minister David Cameron to give £200m for a cancer drug fund.
But the father-of-two and grandfather-of-one from Eynsham said there are still battles to be won.
The 66-year-old said: “I want to bring people up-to-date on what is happening with cancer treatment locally and offer what assistance I can, because I do a lot of that now. If something says to me ‘my dad’s got lung cancer, how do I get gamma-knife therapy?’, I can say ‘you have to get a referral from your oncologist.
“I am not a doctor, and that may not even be the best thing for you, but it is for you to remind your oncologist the opportunity is there.
“I want to empower people to ask these questions.”
Mr Stone, who lost wife Jan to breast cancer in 2011 aged 61, said he would be “dredging around”, trying to find out the reason plans for a £4m Oxford specialist cancer centre were scrapp-ed, as reported in the Oxford Mail on earlier this month.
And he warned there was a danger of the cancer drugs fund he persuaded Mr Cameron to set up becoming a “political football”.
He said: “We can’t live like that, not knowing whether it is going to be extended for another two years.”
Mr Stone was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2007, and it has since spread to his brain and spine.
He has had 34 brain tumours removed over the past three years, but after spending £30,000 on gamma-knife radiosurgery, his latest brain scan in January came back with no sign of cancer which he said gave him a new lease of life.
Mr Stone is still receiving radiotherapy for spinal tumours at the Churchill hospital, where he sits on the catering committee in a bid to improve patient food.
He said: “Cancer is a devastating diagnosis for anyone to have, I just want to show people it can be coped with.
“If I can do it on my own, and still cook my own food, or try to cook when I go off my food because of the drugs, hopefully it might inspire others.
“Never say die.”
- Read Mr Stone’s new column tomorrow