Barnby cancer sufferer vows to help other cancer patients with sponsored head shave
- Credit: Nick Butcher
A north Suffolk man who was given six months to live after being diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in 2010, is still battling the disease and has decided to shave off his hair to help other cancer patients.
Stephen Piper, 59 of Barnby, was diagnosed on New Year's Eve in 2010 and has undergone hormone therapy, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, an operation to replace part of his spine where the cancer had spread, and is now taking a new drug which could give him a further four to 17 months to live.
Speaking of the moment he was diagnosed, Mr Piper, who is a father of five, said: 'It was like being hit with a sledgehammer.
'I had a feeling something wasn't right so I went to my GP. He came to the basic conclusion that it was more than likely prostate cancer so I had various tests done. I was then told I had advance prostate cancer which was not what anyone expected.
'For the first few minutes I was stunned.
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'I expected to be told they could take my prostate out and give me some treatment and I would be fine, not that I only had six months to live.
'But when you get your head around it you realise that no one can decide when they are going to pass away.
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'You've just got to be positive and look on the bright side of life.'
Mr Piper, who previously worked for printing companies in Beccles, Bungay and Norwich, has been treated at both the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and the Sandra Chapman Centre at the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston - the latter of which he will be raising money for through his head shave.
He said: 'The staff at the Sandra Chapman Centre are excellent.
'It makes it so much easier when the staff are nice and there are other patients there if you want to chat who can share their experiences. It's a very harsh thing for people to go through alone.'
Mr Piper will be having his head shaved at The Gillingham Swan on February 22, where he will be having a meal with friends to celebrate his 60th birthday.
He said: 'When I had my chemotherapy I knew I was going to lose my hair so I had it cut short beforehand so my children could see me with short hair.
'I was lucky that it wasn't until my final two sessions that I started to lose it.
'It will be a year in April that I finished my chemotherapy and my hair has grown back better than it was before!'
Mr Piper would also like to use his fundraiser to encourage other men to get health concerns checked out straight away.
He said: 'Men need to open their mouths more, notice their bodies more and get it checked out if they think there is something not right.
'I had no real symptoms until I went to my GP but a lot of the time you do get the signs.'
To sponsor Mr Piper's head shave visit www.justgiving.com/Stephen-Piper2