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AA Gill told of cancer treatment in final column

14 December 2016 09:02

Restaurant critic AA Gill died after a short battle with cancer

Restaurant critic AA Gill died after a short battle with cancer

Legendary newspaper columnist AA Gill revealed the story of him coming to terms with his cancer diagnosis in the final article before his death.

The Sunday Times restaurant critic died on Saturday after revealing to the paper in November that he had been diagnosed with inoperable cancer.

Giant among journalists

The 62-year-old had described it as "an embarrassment of cancer, the full English".

Gill was famously dyslexic, and dictated his columns to copy takers. His writing style was inimitable, and he was described as "a giant among journalists" by the Sunday Times editor - one of many touching tributes from other writers.

He visited the doctor after family noticed he had lost weight during a holiday. Doctors then diagnosed him with lung cancer that had spread to his neck and pancreas, with tumours that were inoperable and unsuitable for radiotherapy.

Life-extending treatment

In a final column printed the day after his death, he told how the NHS had not been able to give him a potentially life-extending cancer treatment.

He wrote in the Sunday Times magazine that his oncologist recommended immunotherapy but that it couldn't be provided on the NHS. One year's worth of immunotherapy can cost as much as £100,000 for a lung cancer patient.

More life with your kids

Gill wrote that the therapy could have helped him to live "considerably" longer. He called the treatment a "considerable bit of life" - a stretch but not a cure.

But he wrote candidly about what the extra time could mean to someone.

"More life with your kids, more life with your friends, more life holding hands, more life shared, more life spent on earth - but only if you can pay."

Cancer sufferers can arrange specialist medical travel insurance if well enough to travel to visit family.