King Charles has given a voice to all us cancer sufferers, says Duran Duran’s Andy Taylor


After somewhat of a public reckoning with an advanced stage of prostate cancer, which forced me to miss Duran’s induction into The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in November 2022, my dear friend, the music executive Merck Mercuriadis, said to me: “Try not to worry, you’ll feel differently once it’s public, your world won’t seem such a lonely place, people really do care.” He was right.

I vividly remember the day – five and a half years ago – when the results of my biopsy were revealed to me. The news was not good, within a millisecond our world turned upside down, not unlike when my father first told me of his cancer diagnosis. I could barely speak and he died aged just 67 in 2005.

Whatever kind of life you had prior to being diagnosed, the shuddering fear of the unknown, the magnitude of aftershocks, just from hearing those few words, “I’m so sorry, but you have an advanced form of cancer” is terrifying. Whatever privilege or position you may hold, however powerful or infamous you are or may have become, it is the most humbling of challenges, an experience I would wish upon no one.

After baring all, I caught a huge break, as news spread of my terminal diagnosis, I was contacted by the Cancer Awareness Trust, led by the indefatigable Professor Sir Chris Evans after which my outcome changed dramatically. Had I chosen to remain closeted about my condition – “don’t complain, don’t explain” – I believe my outcome would have been very different. As it is today, I am very much alive and living, thank you, Sir Chris.

As you can imagine – I was blown away when the King courageously went public with his prostate enlargement procedure in January, and then after what must have been devastating to the family, he publicly shared the sad news of his cancer diagnosis this week. From my own experiences, the impact of raising cancer awareness could not be more tangible.

Unequivocally by making his diagnosis public, he will save thousands of lives, countless headaches and heartaches; by raising awareness he will give hope to so many who will be living with so much of their own anxiety. The most famous man in the world has made the most humbling of gestures in that – on the inside, we all bleed the same.

It’s impossible to understate the significance of what the King has done, in a world where power is seldom put to good use, the war on cancer is a battle nearer to the peace, however we must keep talking, caring, questioning – never taking no for an answer.

I’m now two-thirds through my treatment called Lutetium-177 and I am learning to live again. I’m sure many of you know that treatment is no “cakewalk”, however several years ago there was no means to win the battle, yet now I’m still in the fight, bruised but not battered, lightly fried without being burnt. One of the most powerful things that kept me going was the harrowing thought of saying goodbye to my wife and children, no way in my mind was that going to happen, over my dead body – literally.

‘Lightly fried without being burnt’ Andy Taylor (right) with Professor Sir Chris Evans

(Eddie Miles)

It’s easy to forget King Charles is a husband, father and grandfather. As a family I’m sure they have felt those shuddering fears as they come to terms with what’s to be or not to be. I also really feel for distant relatives. I too have made that unexpected journey from California back to the UK when my father was sick, it’s truly a long haul, so give the lad a break – he’s only human too.

Understandably, the King will have access to the best medical attention available, the advancements in cancer treatments are at some pace now. Yet a few short years ago there was very limited access to treatment information, which often led to the same dead end (no pun intended).

Which is why I’ve supported Sir Chris and his team on their journey to fix the unacceptable gap in common knowledge so that information specific to an individual can be easily accessed. This way we can all be better informed, more confident in our judgements and armed with a true cookbook of knowledge.

One in two of us… That’s 50 per cent of us will be diagnosed with cancer in our lifetimes. I cannot overstate the significance of awareness and preventative care. With the odds stacked this high, for many it’s no longer a case of “if” but “when”. So, if you have any worry or suspicion that you may have a problem, talk to someone. It may be nothing, but when it becomes something, you really don’t want to find yourself saying “if only I had spoken up sooner”.

Be a king, if just for one day…

Yours, Andy Taylor

Andy Taylor is an ambassador of Cancer Awareness Trust (developer of Cancer Platform and Evamore Records). Supporters of the charity and those wishing to see a transformation of cancer outcomes for Andy and others can help by entering the prize draw on Crowdfunder – an opportunity to win a Banksy, presented by Andy Taylor, Robert Plant and Professor Sir Chris Evans, including flights and accommodation in London

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