Tag Archives: This

Late risers more likely to die early? Wake me up from this nightmare | Andy Dawson

In my (admittedly self-regarding) opinion, I do my very best living between the hours of 11pm and, say, 3am. That’s when my children have been confined to their beds and I have the relative freedom that allows me to consume television until my eyes start to sting. Essentially, I’m talking about repeated episodes of Bullseye (the original Jim Bowen incarnation, not the abhorrent Dave Spikey reboot), maybe some BBC4 music documentaries that I’ve already seen seven or eight times, or one of the 45 episodes of A Place in the Sun that are clogging up my Sky box.

Essentially nothing that represents challenging viewing, because I’m too done in to think properly by then – anything on Netflix feels like a chore, plus there’s the added time needed to scroll through endless menus, deciding on what to watch.

The best way I can describe my nocturnal nirvana is that it’s like being alive while being partially dead – a battle against sleep in order to feel as though I’ve enjoyed some quality solitary time, even if nothing constructive is being achieved. A tiny, useless victory against the relentless tyranny of parenting.

Sadly, I don’t get to do it all that often, partly because I’m not a leisure-rich member of the aristocracy, but mainly because my children are still young and need help with feeding and dressing themselves before getting to school on time.

But at weekends or when there’s a school holiday – that’s when our rigid timetables get binned and I get to wallow on the sofa in dim light, binge on cerebral junk food and carefully work my way through some medium-quality alcohol.

Tragically though, the enduring nuisance that is science has come along to jam a spanner in my well-oiled works. A study from the chronobiologists at the University of Surrey (I had never heard of chronobiology – maybe I should have been watching something slightly more educational than Shooting Stars reruns) suggests that night owls are more prone to smoking, heavy drinking, depression and drug abuse. Oh, and unhealthy eating.

The study, published in Chronobiology International shows that late risers are 30% more likely to have diabetes, 22% more likely to have respiratory problems and 94% more likely to have psychological disorders.

Thankfully, the chronobiologists aren’t here to night-shame us – they argue that lives could be saved if society was more flexible to the needs of those who stay up late. They’ve found that the No 1 underlying factor when it comes to risk of premature death is chronic sleep deprivation.

It seems that some of us are predisposed towards a nocturnal existence – the body clock is partly determined by genes, but the study also found that those of us who burn the midnight oil are disproportionately likely to be white – possibly for cultural reasons or because Europeans may have evolved to go to bed and get up later.

Another study in American hospitals in 2012 showed 10% more patients were admitted with heart attacks on the days after the clocks went forward and 10% fewer when they went back.

Essentially, the chronobiologists’ argument is that if those of us who thrive in the small hours were allowed to start work at noon or later instead of pitching up bleary-eyed and barely coherent at 9am, the world would be a better place and we’d be attending fewer funerals of our night owl colleagues.

We’re all wired differently and while I’m not about to start shrieking that the nine-to-five routine is discriminatory against people who feel more comfortable in the small hours, there’s a genuine argument for making more of an effort to accommodate them.

While we’re lucky to be living in an era of more adaptable working practices, with home working and flexible hours increasingly available, surely more needs to be done if we all want to operate at our very best. And by “very best” I mean “slightly hungover and a bit stiff from passing out on the sofa at 4am”.

This has all come as a massive wake-up call for me. If I carry on with my night-time solitude, I may lose a few years. So in future, if you catch me tweeting about a 1980s episode of Top of the Pops at 2am, please tell me to get to bed – you could be saving my life.

Andy Dawson is a freelance writer and author of Get in the Sea

Getting pregnant isn’t easy. Young people should at least be taught this | Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett

How easy is it to get pregnant? Judging by the scaremongering sex education I received, you’d think all it took was the touch of the tip, the slip of a condom or the missing of a pill and – bam! – you’re a pregnant teenager and your life as you know it is over.

But now a coalition of leading doctors, fertility experts and campaigners – under the umbrella of the Fertility Education Initiative (FEI) – has told the government that the emphasis must shift. In the new compulsory sex education classes, girls (and presumably boys) should be taught how and when to conceive. One in seven couples struggles with fertility, and it is looking as though the traditional emphasis on safe sex at the expense of all else – a response to what was an appalling teenage pregnancy record in the UK – has unsurprisingly backfired. Young women (and, again, I assume the men to whom a large proportion of them are coupled) are assuming that they can conceive as soon as they want to.

So tell us something that we don’t know. You spend a decade or so terrified that all it takes to get pregnant is to drop your guard for a second, and the next few years wishing you’d known what you do now: that for many women, it is not that simple. Yes, we all know someone who missed a pill, or even didn’t, and still got miraculously knocked up. But for most couples, the chance of getting pregnant in any given month of trying is around 20%.

Clearly this imbalance needs redressing. Now that the battle for compulsory sex education is won, we need to fight for informative and modern sex education. A good start would be acknowledging that fertility is something that affects both genders, that the responsibility for getting pregnant, and the decision about when to do that, is made in most cases by two people. The grief in realising that you have left it too late – a potential outcome that has hovered over my generation of women like a horror story told around a campfire – is often shared by the partner at the woman’s side, just like the emotional ups and downs of fertility treatment, or the heartbreak of miscarriage or abortion (something that’s also rarely dealt with in sex education).

Many, many men come on this journey too, and need to be as well-informed. If anything, it has been my male acquaintances who have been more blase about being able to wait, forgetting that they too have their biological clocks.

In saying this, I am not calling for more paternalistic tick-tocking. We young(ish) women have had a bellyful of that. But a balance needs to be struck. Women are leaving it later and later. The average age for a woman in the UK to have a child is 30 (it was 26 in 1976), with the optimum age from a biological point of view being 25-30.

I have little sympathy with those who paint this as a societal crisis without examining why. Their logic is often underpinned by the belief that women are failing to do their duties as baby incubators. So often it is that women must be told what to do, as opposed to being given all the information so we can make informed decisions. The FEI’s intervention is welcome because it argues for the latter. The media could do their job too, by better addressing how IVF and egg freezing are not the failsafe fallbacks they are so often claimed to be.

Most of all, it is paradoxical that the government considering the FEI’s proposals – a government that claims it is committed to family values – has done little to create a society in which balancing childrearing with a career is manageable. Nor has it worked to prevent a housing crisis that means many of my generation are delaying starting families, or deciding against them altogether.

If you want more women to have children, giving them the facts is an excellent place to start. But fertility education is of limited use when you grow up only to find that a stable home, affordable childcare, and decent maternity and paternity packages seem out of the question. We shouldn’t need to send politicians back to school for them to realise that.

Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett is a Guardian columnist and author

Does my nose look big in this? Plastic surgeons reassure those worried by selfies

If a penchant for selfies has left you worried about the size of your nose, you might want to consider a selfie-stick.

Researchers say selfie-lovers should be aware that snapping a picture with the camera close to your face distorts the proportions of your features.

“If the camera point is closer to something that projects out, like your nose, it is going to make everything that is closer to that camera look bigger compared to the rest of the face,” said Boris Paskhover, co-author of the study and a facial plastic surgeon at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.

To illustrate the point, Paskhover and colleagues combined a simple mathematical model with average values for several facial measurements previously gathered for a large number of men and women in the US.

The results show that a face-on portrait taken from 12 inches away makes the nose’s breadth appear about 30% larger – compared to width of the face – than it really is. In such photos the tip of the nose also appears 7% bigger, compared to the rest of the nose, than it is in reality. By contrast, an image taken five feet away results in facial features appearing in the same proportions as they would in the flesh.

Selfie distance

“[That] is actually a standard photographic distance – photographers take portraits at five feet; when I take pictures of patients, I take them at five feet,” said Paskhover.

According to a survey published in January by the the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 55% of facial plastic surgeons report that patients have said they want to improve their looks in selfies.

“I, for years, have seen that patients – and family members of mine and people in general around me – always say ‘hey, my nose looks so big’,” said Paskhover. But, he added, when they take out a picture, it is usually a selfie on their phone.

Paskhover noted that cosmetic nose surgery is more common in the younger population, typically young females. But, he said, the message was not just for people seeking surgery.

“Kids need to know that is not what you look like: you look great, don’t worry about that,” said Paskhover. “The selfie is kind of like a fun-house mirror.”

Does my nose look big in this? Plastic surgeons reassure those worried by selfies

If a penchant for selfies has left you worried about the size of your nose, you might want to consider a selfie-stick.

Researchers say selfie-lovers should be aware that snapping a picture with the camera close to your face distorts the proportions of your features.

“If the camera point is closer to something that projects out, like your nose, it is going to make everything that is closer to that camera look bigger compared to the rest of the face,” said Boris Paskhover, co-author of the study and a facial plastic surgeon at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.

To illustrate the point, Paskhover and colleagues combined a simple mathematical model with average values for several facial measurements previously gathered for a large number of men and women in the US.

The results show that a face-on portrait taken from 12 inches away makes the nose’s breadth appear about 30% larger – compared to width of the face – than it really is. In such photos the tip of the nose also appears 7% bigger, compared to the rest of the nose, than it is in reality. By contrast, an image taken five feet away results in facial features appearing in the same proportions as they would in the flesh.

Selfie distance

“[That] is actually a standard photographic distance – photographers take portraits at five feet; when I take pictures of patients, I take them at five feet,” said Paskhover.

According to a survey published in January by the the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 55% of facial plastic surgeons report that patients have said they want to improve their looks in selfies.

“I, for years, have seen that patients – and family members of mine and people in general around me – always say ‘hey, my nose looks so big’,” said Paskhover. But, he added, when they take out a picture, it is usually a selfie on their phone.

Paskhover noted that cosmetic nose surgery is more common in the younger population, typically young females. But, he said, the message was not just for people seeking surgery.

“Kids need to know that is not what you look like: you look great, don’t worry about that,” said Paskhover. “The selfie is kind of like a fun-house mirror.”

‘This is how I spend it – I have cancer but make the most of the time I have’

I live in the East End of London and own my flat. I have a brain tumour. I’m dying – it’s inoperable, and I’m halfway through my third round of chemo.

I try to live my life to the full, in four-week sprints, with a round of chemo coming up every month.

When I was 25, I had a job paying a very decent wage. I bought the flat then. My critical illness insurance has paid out, and that means I have paid off most of the mortgage.

I have stopped work. The last full-time salaried job I had I chucked in this time last year.

I live on benefits and my savings. Because I was sensible, I always paid into a pension. I’ve now cashed some of that in. I lead a very, very frugal life. I have no car, no credit cards, and a bicycle. I’ve always hated being in debt.

I used to work in recruitment. I went to a normal comprehensive in Suffolk, then did engineering at university and then came to London. I quite like spreadsheets and planning. By the age of 25 I was earning more money than I knew what to do with.

I bought the flat in 2005 for £189,000 with a deposit of just £9,000. It’s now worth about £400,000. I suppose if I were younger and buying now I would certainly not be able to afford it.

I was diagnosed in 2010, and had my first surgery in 2011. It’s growing really quickly.

I won’t pretend that it hasn’t been tough, because it has. I’ve had to do a lot of soul searching.

But I’m not lonely, I have a good social life and the next thing I’m going to do is to get a dog.

I’ve had a good life, I’ve travelled a lot, done most things. I don’t like the idea of the bucket list of things to do before you die. I want to go on with the things I already do in my life – go camping, start a fire, shoot my bow and arrow – and I don’t want a list where I have to go and swim with dolphins or the like. These things seem very finite to me. Maybe I’m just too cynical, although equally, even with my condition, I don’t think the world is out to get you.

Everything has become the new normal. I’m not allowed to drive. Sometimes you think you could take out credit cards and buy a Porsche or something, knowing you won’t have to pay it back. But it’s just not worth it. And bicycles are cheap.

My monthly spending is now about £500. It’s not a lot of money. I cycle whenever I can. I don’t go to fancy restaurants. But then I don’t deny myself completely.

I go to Lidl for food shopping and it doesn’t cost me much at all. I just don’t understand how people can be so extravagant with their bills. My biggest bill is the management charge for the flat. My mobile is £12 a month, broadband £20, water £20 and council tax £90.

I still have savings from when I worked for Comic Relief. I was a product manager looking after the website, and I saved £1,000 a month.

I actually only just sorted out the will. Something in me made me put off doing it for a long time. The money will go to my mother, my sister and my current girlfriend. She’s a superstar.

The Macmillan nurses have been really great, as have the amazing cancer team at Barts. Macmillan put me in contact with a company that helps you write a will and gave me a lot of advice.

I’m on universal credit, as they have assessed me as not fit for work – I receive about £250 a month. I got a Macmillan grant of £350.

None of this has come easily: it’s been painful. What I see is people getting so cross with the world. I don’t think it’s helpful – just chill out a bit. I loved the film Paddington 2. If we are kind and polite, the world will be right. That’s how I try to spend every day.

This article was amended on 27 February 2018 to clarify some personal details

As told to Patrick Collinson

If you are affected by the issues in this story, you can contact Macmillan Cancer Support in the UK on 0808 808 0000

‘This is how I spend it – I have cancer but make the most of the time I have’

I live in the East End of London and own my flat. I have a brain tumour. I’m dying – it’s inoperable, and I’m halfway through my third round of chemo.

I try to live my life to the full, in four-week sprints, with a round of chemo coming up every month.

When I was 25, I had a job paying a very decent wage. I bought the flat then. My critical illness insurance has paid out, and that means I have paid off most of the mortgage.

I have stopped work. The last full-time salaried job I had I chucked in this time last year.

I live on benefits and my savings. Because I was sensible, I always paid into a pension. I’ve now cashed some of that in. I lead a very, very frugal life. I have no car, no credit cards, and a bicycle. I’ve always hated being in debt.

I used to work in recruitment. I went to a normal comprehensive in Suffolk, then did engineering at university and then came to London. I quite like spreadsheets and planning. By the age of 25 I was earning more money than I knew what to do with.

I bought the flat in 2005 for £189,000 with a deposit of just £9,000. It’s now worth about £400,000. I suppose if I were younger and buying now I would certainly not be able to afford it.

I was diagnosed in 2010, and had my first surgery in 2011. It’s growing really quickly.

I won’t pretend that it hasn’t been tough, because it has. I’ve had to do a lot of soul searching.

But I’m not lonely, I have a good social life and the next thing I’m going to do is to get a dog.

I’ve had a good life, I’ve travelled a lot, done most things. I don’t like the idea of the bucket list of things to do before you die. I want to go on with the things I already do in my life – go camping, start a fire, shoot my bow and arrow – and I don’t want a list where I have to go and swim with dolphins or the like. These things seem very finite to me. Maybe I’m just too cynical, although equally, even with my condition, I don’t think the world is out to get you.

Everything has become the new normal. I’m not allowed to drive. Sometimes you think you could take out credit cards and buy a Porsche or something, knowing you won’t have to pay it back. But it’s just not worth it. And bicycles are cheap.

My monthly spending is now about £500. It’s not a lot of money. I cycle whenever I can. I don’t go to fancy restaurants. But then I don’t deny myself completely.

I go to Lidl for food shopping and it doesn’t cost me much at all. I just don’t understand how people can be so extravagant with their bills. My biggest bill is the management charge for the flat. My mobile is £12 a month, broadband £20, water £20 and council tax £90.

I still have savings from when I worked for Comic Relief. I was a product manager looking after the website, and I saved £1,000 a month.

I actually only just sorted out the will. Something in me made me put off doing it for a long time. The money will go to my mother, my sister and my current girlfriend. She’s a superstar.

The Macmillan nurses have been really great, as have the amazing cancer team at Barts. Macmillan put me in contact with a company that helps you write a will and gave me a lot of advice.

I’m on universal credit, as they have assessed me as not fit for work – I receive about £250 a month. I got a Macmillan grant of £350.

None of this has come easily: it’s been painful. What I see is people getting so cross with the world. I don’t think it’s helpful – just chill out a bit. I loved the film Paddington 2. If we are kind and polite, the world will be right. That’s how I try to spend every day.

This article was amended on 27 February 2018 to clarify some personal details

As told to Patrick Collinson

If you are affected by the issues in this story, you can contact Macmillan Cancer Support in the UK on 0808 808 0000

‘This is how I spend it – I have cancer but make the most of the time I have’

I live in the East End of London and own my flat. I have a brain tumour. I’m dying – it’s inoperable, and I’m halfway through my third round of chemo.

I try to live my life to the full, in four-week sprints, with a round of chemo coming up every month.

When I was 25, I had a job paying a very decent wage. I bought the flat then. My critical illness insurance has paid out, and that means I have paid off most of the mortgage.

I have stopped work. The last full-time salaried job I had I chucked in this time last year.

I live on benefits and my savings. Because I was sensible, I always paid into a pension. I’ve now cashed some of that in. I lead a very, very frugal life. I have no car, no credit cards, and a bicycle. I’ve always hated being in debt.

I used to work in recruitment. I went to a normal comprehensive in Suffolk, then did engineering at university and then came to London. I quite like spreadsheets and planning. By the age of 25 I was earning more money than I knew what to do with.

I bought the flat in 2005 for £189,000 with a deposit of just £9,000. It’s now worth about £400,000. I suppose if I were younger and buying now I would certainly not be able to afford it.

I was diagnosed in 2010, and had my first surgery in 2011. It’s growing really quickly.

I won’t pretend that it hasn’t been tough, because it has. I’ve had to do a lot of soul searching.

But I’m not lonely, I have a good social life and the next thing I’m going to do is to get a dog.

I’ve had a good life, I’ve travelled a lot, done most things. I don’t like the idea of the bucket list of things to do before you die. I want to go on with the things I already do in my life – go camping, start a fire, shoot my bow and arrow – and I don’t want a list where I have to go and swim with dolphins or the like. These things seem very finite to me. Maybe I’m just too cynical, although equally, even with my condition, I don’t think the world is out to get you.

Everything has become the new normal. I’m not allowed to drive. Sometimes you think you could take out credit cards and buy a Porsche or something, knowing you won’t have to pay it back. But it’s just not worth it. And bicycles are cheap.

My monthly spending is now about £500. It’s not a lot of money. I cycle whenever I can. I don’t go to fancy restaurants. But then I don’t deny myself completely.

I go to Lidl for food shopping and it doesn’t cost me much at all. I just don’t understand how people can be so extravagant with their bills. My biggest bill is the management charge for the flat. My mobile is £12 a month, broadband £20, water £20 and council tax £90.

I still have savings from when I worked for Comic Relief. I was a product manager looking after the website, and I saved £1,000 a month.

I actually only just sorted out the will. Something in me made me put off doing it for a long time. The money will go to my mother, my sister and my current girlfriend. She’s a superstar.

The Macmillan nurses have been really great, as have the amazing cancer team at Barts. Macmillan put me in contact with a company that helps you write a will and gave me a lot of advice.

I’m on universal credit, as they have assessed me as not fit for work – I receive about £250 a month. I got a Macmillan grant of £350.

None of this has come easily: it’s been painful. What I see is people getting so cross with the world. I don’t think it’s helpful – just chill out a bit. I loved the film Paddington 2. If we are kind and polite, the world will be right. That’s how I try to spend every day.

This article was amended on 27 February 2018 to clarify some personal details

As told to Patrick Collinson

If you are affected by the issues in this story, you can contact Macmillan Cancer Support in the UK on 0808 808 0000

‘This is how I spend it – I have cancer but make the most of the time I have’

I live in the East End of London and own my flat. I have a brain tumour. I’m dying – it’s inoperable, and I’m halfway through my third round of chemo.

I try to live my life to the full, in four-week sprints, with a round of chemo coming up every month.

When I was 25, I had a job paying a very decent wage. I bought the flat then. My critical illness insurance has paid out, and that means I have paid off most of the mortgage.

I have stopped work. The last full-time salaried job I had I chucked in this time last year.

I live on benefits and my savings. Because I was sensible, I always paid into a pension. I’ve now cashed some of that in. I lead a very, very frugal life. I have no car, no credit cards, and a bicycle. I’ve always hated being in debt.

I used to work in recruitment. I went to a normal comprehensive in Suffolk, then did engineering at university and then came to London. I quite like spreadsheets and planning. By the age of 25 I was earning more money than I knew what to do with.

I bought the flat in 2005 for £189,000 with a deposit of just £9,000. It’s now worth about £400,000. I suppose if I were younger and buying now I would certainly not be able to afford it.

I was diagnosed in 2010, and had my first surgery in 2011. It’s growing really quickly.

I won’t pretend that it hasn’t been tough, because it has. I’ve had to do a lot of soul searching.

But I’m not lonely, I have a good social life and the next thing I’m going to do is to get a dog.

I’ve had a good life, I’ve travelled a lot, done most things. I don’t like the idea of the bucket list of things to do before you die. I want to go on with the things I already do in my life – go camping, start a fire, shoot my bow and arrow – and I don’t want a list where I have to go and swim with dolphins or the like. These things seem very finite to me. Maybe I’m just too cynical, although equally, even with my condition, I don’t think the world is out to get you.

Everything has become the new normal. I’m not allowed to drive. Sometimes you think you could take out credit cards and buy a Porsche or something, knowing you won’t have to pay it back. But it’s just not worth it. And bicycles are cheap.

My monthly spending is now about £500. It’s not a lot of money. I cycle whenever I can. I don’t go to fancy restaurants. But then I don’t deny myself completely.

I go to Lidl for food shopping and it doesn’t cost me much at all. I just don’t understand how people can be so extravagant with their bills. My biggest bill is the management charge for the flat. My mobile is £12 a month, broadband £20, water £20 and council tax £90.

I still have savings from when I worked for Comic Relief. I was a product manager looking after the website, and I saved £1,000 a month.

I actually only just sorted out the will. Something in me made me put off doing it for a long time. The money will go to my mother, my sister and my current girlfriend. She’s a superstar.

The Macmillan nurses have been really great, as have the amazing cancer team at Barts. Macmillan put me in contact with a company that helps you write a will and gave me a lot of advice.

I’m on universal credit, as they have assessed me as not fit for work – I receive about £250 a month. I got a Macmillan grant of £350.

None of this has come easily: it’s been painful. What I see is people getting so cross with the world. I don’t think it’s helpful – just chill out a bit. I loved the film Paddington 2. If we are kind and polite, the world will be right. That’s how I try to spend every day.

This article was amended on 27 February 2018 to clarify some personal details

As told to Patrick Collinson

If you are affected by the issues in this story, you can contact Macmillan Cancer Support in the UK on 0808 808 0000

‘I’m 37, I’m dying and this is how I spend it’

I live in the East End of London and own my flat. I have a brain tumour. I’m dying – it’s inoperable, and I’m halfway through my third round of chemo.

I try to live my life to the full, in four-week sprints, with a round of chemo coming up every month.

When I was 25, I had a job paying a very decent wage. I bought the flat then. My critical illness insurance has paid out, and that means I have paid off most of the mortgage.

I have stopped work. The last full-time salaried job I had I chucked in this time last year.

I live on benefits and my savings. Because I was sensible, I always paid into a pension. I’ve now cashed some of that in. I lead a very, very frugal life. I have no car, no credit cards, and a bicycle. I’ve always hated being in debt.

I used to work in recruitment. I went to a normal comprehensive in Suffolk, then did engineering at university and then came to London. I quite like spreadsheets and planning. By the age of 25 I was earning more money than I knew what to do with. I still have a copy of a payslip where I had a take-home of more than £10,000.

I bought the flat in 2005 for £189,000 with a deposit of just £9,000. It’s now worth about £400,000. I suppose if I were younger and buying now I would certainly not be able to afford it.

I was diagnosed in 2010, and had my first surgery in 2011. It’s growing really quickly.

I’ve been separated from my wife for the last 18 months and we’re about to get divorced.

I won’t pretend that it hasn’t been tough, because it has. I’ve had to do a lot of soul searching.

But I’m not lonely, I have a good social life and the next thing I’m going to do is to get a dog.

I’ve had a good life, I’ve travelled a lot, done most things. I don’t like the idea of the bucket list of things to do before you die. I want to go on with the things I already do in my life – go camping, start a fire, shoot my bow and arrow – and I don’t want a list where I have to go and swim with dolphins or the like. These things seem very finite to me. Maybe I’m just too cynical, although equally, even with my condition, I don’t think the world is out to get you.

Everything has become the new normal. I’m not allowed to drive. Sometimes you think you could take out credit cards and buy a Porsche or something, knowing you won’t have to pay it back. But it’s just not worth it. And bicycles are cheap.

My monthly spending is now about £500. It’s not a lot of money. I cycle whenever I can. I don’t go to fancy restaurants. But then I don’t deny myself completely.

I go to Lidl for food shopping and it doesn’t cost me much at all. I just don’t understand how people can be so extravagant with their bills. My biggest bill is the £235-a-year management charge for the flat. My mobile is £12 a month, broadband £20, water £20 and council tax £90.

I still have savings from when I worked for Comic Relief. They paid me £45,000 a year as a product manager looking after the website, and I saved £1,000 a month.

I actually only just sorted out the will. Something in me made me put off doing it for a long time. The money will go to my mother, my sister and my current girlfriend. She’s a superstar.

The Macmillan nurses have been really great. They put me in contact with a company that helps you write a will and gave me a lot of advice.

I’m on universal credit, as they have assessed me as not fit for work – I receive about £250 a month. I got a Macmillan grant of £350.

None of this has come easily: it’s been painful. What I see is people getting so cross with the world. I don’t think it’s helpful – just chill out a bit. I loved the film Paddington 2. If you smile and you’re polite, then everything will be all right. That’s how I try to spend every day.

As told to Patrick Collinson

If you are affected by the issues in this story, you can contact Macmillan Cancer Support in the UK on 0808 808 0000

‘I’m 37, I’m dying and this is how I spend it’

I live in the East End of London and own my flat. I have a brain tumour. I’m dying – it’s inoperable, and I’m halfway through my third round of chemo.

I try to live my life to the full, in four-week sprints, with a round of chemo coming up every month.

When I was 25, I had a job paying a very decent wage. I bought the flat then. My critical illness insurance has paid out, and that means I have paid off most of the mortgage.

I have stopped work. The last full-time salaried job I had I chucked in this time last year.

I live on benefits and my savings. Because I was sensible, I always paid into a pension. I’ve now cashed some of that in. I lead a very, very frugal life. I have no car, no credit cards, and a bicycle. I’ve always hated being in debt.

I used to work in recruitment. I went to a normal comprehensive in Suffolk, then did engineering at university and then came to London. I quite like spreadsheets and planning. By the age of 25 I was earning more money than I knew what to do with. I still have a copy of a payslip where I had a take-home of more than £10,000.

I bought the flat in 2005 for £189,000 with a deposit of just £9,000. It’s now worth about £400,000. I suppose if I were younger and buying now I would certainly not be able to afford it.

I was diagnosed in 2010, and had my first surgery in 2011. It’s growing really quickly.

I’ve been separated from my wife for the last 18 months and we’re about to get divorced.

I won’t pretend that it hasn’t been tough, because it has. I’ve had to do a lot of soul searching.

But I’m not lonely, I have a good social life and the next thing I’m going to do is to get a dog.

I’ve had a good life, I’ve travelled a lot, done most things. I don’t like the idea of the bucket list of things to do before you die. I want to go on with the things I already do in my life – go camping, start a fire, shoot my bow and arrow – and I don’t want a list where I have to go and swim with dolphins or the like. These things seem very finite to me. Maybe I’m just too cynical, although equally, even with my condition, I don’t think the world is out to get you.

Everything has become the new normal. I’m not allowed to drive. Sometimes you think you could take out credit cards and buy a Porsche or something, knowing you won’t have to pay it back. But it’s just not worth it. And bicycles are cheap.

My monthly spending is now about £500. It’s not a lot of money. I cycle whenever I can. I don’t go to fancy restaurants. But then I don’t deny myself completely.

I go to Lidl for food shopping and it doesn’t cost me much at all. I just don’t understand how people can be so extravagant with their bills. My biggest bill is the £235-a-year management charge for the flat. My mobile is £12 a month, broadband £20, water £20 and council tax £90.

I still have savings from when I worked for Comic Relief. They paid me £45,000 a year as a product manager looking after the website, and I saved £1,000 a month.

I actually only just sorted out the will. Something in me made me put off doing it for a long time. The money will go to my mother, my sister and my current girlfriend. She’s a superstar.

The Macmillan nurses have been really great. They put me in contact with a company that helps you write a will and gave me a lot of advice.

I’m on universal credit, as they have assessed me as not fit for work – I receive about £250 a month. I got a Macmillan grant of £350.

None of this has come easily: it’s been painful. What I see is people getting so cross with the world. I don’t think it’s helpful – just chill out a bit. I loved the film Paddington 2. If you smile and you’re polite, then everything will be all right. That’s how I try to spend every day.

As told to Patrick Collinson

If you are affected by the issues in this story, you can contact Macmillan Cancer Support in the UK on 0808 808 0000