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Updated on October 15, 2012


People like myself who have sat in a Consulting Room and heard a Consultant pronounce that they have Cancer will understand what it feels like. In my case, my wife and eldest son were present back in 2010 when those words were directed to me. Having my wife there was a beneficial factor for me, because she began to cry immediately, which strengthened my resolve to maintain a POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE. Likewise my son kept hold of his emotions and helped me ask the questions about treatment and other pragmatic subjects.

At the time, I remember a complete calm enveloping me and a voice inside telling me we could not only fight but beat this. Even so, there can be no way I should convey that there was not an element of fear around me at the time either. We resolved an early date to commence Chemotherapy and, in all truth the worst period was ticking off the days till treatment began.


The roller coaster ride my family had during the months of treatment had to be lived through to understand and my wife especially, who became effectively my nurse and organised the mountains of pills I had to take throughout, had a heavy load to shoulder.

Thus, understanding what is involved, I learned with almost total incredulity that some people are actually FAKING being diagnosed with Cancer, for a whole variety of reasons. A recent feature in a Sunday paper, brought the facts of fake cancer patients to my notice, and sorry tales do they tell indeed.


Initially, my thought was that people would fake such an illness solely for monetary gain in some manner. Indeed that is one of the driving reasons why fakers do what they do. However, there are others, notably, the need to gain attention or to secure acceptance for absence from work.

Those in the last two categories above clearly are suffering from a form of illness but not the Cancer they claim. Their need is not for Oncology but Psychiatry or Psychology. Those using the faked symptoms for gain clearly need the sort of help that can be gained from a clear period of incarceration to stop them preying on innocent people.

Examples quoted contain a woman who pretended to have only 8 weeks to live to secure over £4000 from a family who had their own father dying from lung cancer. The woman apparently used the money not for life saving treatment in the USA but for a holiday for her and her partner , admittedly to the States, but nowhere near a Medical Centre.

In another case, a woman from North East England took a string of lovers for over £100,000 and was jailed not once but twice for the offences.. Some start off pretence, it is said to get attention and then, having succeeded, turn the screw for monetary gain.

I was diagnosed with non- Hodgkin Lymphoma, as was the false claim made by a female teacher in the East Midlands. Her aim was to avoid working between 2006 and 2010 by pretending to have the same condition. 2 other women, one a Police Officer claimed cancer had struck their children to enable them claim paid time for not working. These two were fined in one case and jailed in another. One woman in West Sussex even hoodwinked her fiance into believing she had Cervical cancer and received over £8500 whilst not working. Once discovered she missed jail by being diagnosed with clinical depression.

The cases are increasing and that clearly means there are many more out there who are fraudulently gaining the trust and sympathy of decent people, some of whom may well be vulnerable because of situations affecting their own families. Uncovering this type of behaviour is far from easy and it appears that often it can only be uncovered ,at least initially, by those involved becoming suspicious and vigilant. It is vital that clear and substantial evidence be gathered prior to reporting suspicions to the Police. Failure to provide chapter and verse can often lead to the perpetrator slipping off the hook and then vanishing altogether. Even if they are taken to Court, it is likely that a skilled Psychiatrist will be brought forward by their defence. As a result many escape jail claiming various types of personality disorder as the reason for their criminal behaviour. It would not wash with me, but then, I am not the Law !

Sufficient to record here that there are ever increasing numbers of people up to this type of behaviour. One may have been forgiven for thinking that even they would not stoop so low as to use faked cancer for their schemes, but clearly we must now be on our guard, as clearly too many regard it as a pathway to get for themselves, things that the rest of us all work for honestly. Forewarned is forearmed !


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