RED wine and cigars aren’t the usual prescriptions for cancer sufferers.
But after Bruce Shelton was warned he had only 18 months to live in 2002, he decided he wanted to live life to the full.
To enjoy his time left, the father-of-five has been enjoying a glass of red wine and a cigar almost every day since.
Twelve years on, he has written a book for others who are terminally ill to take inspiration from his positive attitude to life.
Mr Shelton, 55, said: “It’s not the red wine and cigars that will kill me. I’m not advising other people with cancer to smoke — what I’m saying is live your life.
“I deliberately gave the book this title because I wanted to create a debate — it was never intended to suggest that smoking is good for you.”
Mr Shelton grew up in Wallingford and now lives in Little Milton, where his wife Ally runs the community shop.
The great-grandfather is hoping his experience will encourage other cancer sufferers to adopt a positive attitude and his book, entitled Fighting Cancer With Red Wine and Cigars, is now available from Amazon.
Mr Shelton was diagnosed with kidney cancer after collapsing at his 40th birthday party in 1999 and has been told his condition is incurable after the cancer spread.
But he has refused to give up hope and wants his story to inspire others.
He said he was aware of the dangers of drinking too much alcohol and smoking, but enjoyed a glass of wine and a cigar almost daily.
Mr Shelton was in the Royal Navy between the ages of 18 and 30 and said a number of near-death experiences then helped him to cope with cancer.
He said in 1983 he was Leading Weapons Engineering Mechanic on HMS Birmingham, patrolling the exclusion zone around the Falkland Islands, when 20 Argentine aircraft headed towards the ship, with weapons locked on, although they were never fired.
Mr Shelton added: “On March 7, 2002, my oncologist explained that my original cancer had spread in my body and that my cancer was untreatable. They told me that I was going to die and that I had 18 months to live.
“I refused to accept my diagnosis as I had no intention of dying.
“With the help of my wife I started to de-stress to let my body try to fight the cancer.”
Mr Shelton said a new tumour appeared near his heart in 2010 and he needed an operation.
“The surgeon told me it was a life-threatening operation but I immediately agreed as I wanted to live,” he added.
“Fighting Cancer with Red Wine and Cigars is a metaphor, but it is about attitude as well as reflecting my views on life.”
Cancer campaigner Clive Stone, from Eynsham, battled to win the prescription on the NHS of the kidney cancer drug Sunitinib, but Mr Shelton said he had not needed to take it so far.
Mr Stone said: “I’m delighted that Bruce has such a positive outlook — too many cancer patients don’t have it and it is easy to be crushed by the system. I’m 67 and my target is to live to 70 at least — I do a lot of positive thinking and prayers”
- The book is priced £5.23 on Amazon and Mr Shelton is donating 50p to Cancer Research UK for every copy sold.