Thursday 14 December 2017

Des's heartache as dad nears end of cancer battle

Des Bishop and lung cancer survivors Marian Keegan, Brian Caffrey and Monica
Murphy in the garden of the Irish Cancer Society in Dublin yesterday
Des Bishop and lung cancer survivors Marian Keegan, Brian Caffrey and Monica Murphy in the garden of the Irish Cancer Society in Dublin yesterday

Edel O'Connell

COMEDIAN Des Bishop told last night how he is preparing himself for life without his father.

The famous funnyman revealed his father Michael (74), who has terminal lung cancer, stopped undergoing chemotherapy this week.

His father, who lives in the US but is originally from Midleton in east Cork, finally gave up his chemotherapy treatment on Monday and is now in the final stages of the disease.

The comedian and his family have been coping with the diagnosis for the past 15 months.

Bishop has written an entire show with his father based around the experience called 'My Father Was Nearly James Bond'. He is currently touring the critically acclaimed show around Ireland.

"It is difficult. My father came on stage with me for a few of the shows in Edinburgh and New York, but he is a lot weaker now and can't do so as much.

"I know that ultimately it will be very difficult, but until it happens, you don't really know how it will hit you. I am going to go back over to see him this month," Bishop said.

"The show is almost like a funny documentary, a funny story about a real life, and how illness affects the relationship between a father and a son, how it affects the dynamic in a family, loads of things. It's me trying to make sense of the most profound moment anybody has in their lifetime -- one of their parents heading towards death," he added.

The comedian, who attended a lung cancer awareness event at the Irish Cancer Society's headquarters in Dublin yesterday, said the disease failed to receive adequate attention or research funding because of its association with smoking.

The American-born comedian said he believed lung cancer sufferers received far less sympathy, regardless of whether they smoked, because people attributed a certain amount of blame to those who developed it.

"Dr Ross Morgan, respiratory physician at Beaumont Hospital, said lung cancer rates would increase incrementally in this country during the next 20 years because smoking rates continued to rise among younger people.

"Thirty per cent of Irish people aged between 25 to 35 years smoke cigarettes, but lung cancer is a preventable disease -- you don't get it after the first cigarette you smoke, you usually develop it 20 or 30 years down the line.

"However, a worrying trend is that now we are seeing patients who are younger all of the time. I currently have one patient in her late 20s who has lung cancer as a direct result of smoking. It's really important that the cancer is caught early before it starts to spread -- if you don't detect it early, your chances of a good outcome are greatly diminished," he said.

Irish Independent

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