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Meet the Steyning twins who both beat cancer
Twin brothers, who successfully battled cancer, have spoken of how the illness had an extraordinary impact on their lives and career paths.
Stephen and Robert Mattison said battling cancer allowed them to discover what was important in life.
The pair, 58, who both live in Steyning, are supporting a hard-hitting TV campaign launched by Cancer Research UK to raise awareness of the risk of cancer.
Robert, a father to three boys, worked in the City but gave that up to do what he really loved – farming.
Stephen was a diplomat, who had postings in Africa and Ukraine, co-ordinating aid programmes, but went on to try various jobs before taking on the role of a postman in Hurstpierpoint.
He said: “When you’ve had cancer your priorities change. You discover what’s important in life for you.”
A study by the charity reveals a man’s chances of developing the disease in his lifetime is set to reach one in two by 2027.
The charity has launched a hard-hitting TV campaign to raise awareness of the risk. Robert was diagnosed with testicular cancer about 15 years ago and Stephen developed a different type of the same cancer four years later.
Stephen said: “It’s very disturbing to be told you have cancer. When Robert was diagnosed it came out of the blue and he was married with a young family.
“When I was diagnosed I had already seen Robert successfully treated. I’m a single man who never planned to have a family so the question of my ability to father children after cancer treatment was not an issue.
“It didn’t seem such a big deal for me. I had seen him get through it so I just planned to do the same.”
Robert underwent surgery and chemotherapy while Stephen needed surgery and radiotherapy and the experience has made them even closer.
Stephen said: “For us cancer is nowa thing of the past – got it, got it treated, got over it – but I am sure we now both value even more the great relationship we have. It’s thanks to research that we are still here. Success stories like ours wouldn’t be possible without the work of Cancer Research UK.”
Although diagnoses are going up survival rates have doubled in the past 40 years and more people in Sussex and the South East are now beating the disease than ever before.
Lynn Daly, the charity's spokeswoman for Sussex, said: “Research is driving up survival rates, but the new figures showthat significant challenges lie ahead.”
For more details, visit cruk.org.