White Wine Question Time meets You, Me & the Big C

·3-min read

Watch: Deborah James and Lauren Mahon on how lockdown has impacted the cancer community

Yahoo's White Wine Question Time listeners are used to settling back to the sound of a glugging bottle of chilled vino, as presenter Kate Thornton loosens up her celebrity guests for an in-depth chat.

But this episode is a little different, as Kate points out that there's a proven link between alcohol and cancer - so she and the much-loved presenters of podcast You, Me & the Big C will be on nothing stronger than tea.

The podcast, presented by cancer survivors Lauren Mahon and Deborah James, is a straight-talking safe space where cancer myths are busted and honesty is the only policy, whether it's side effects or sex under discussion.

Listen now:

WWQT listen now
WWQT listen now

In this special one-off episode of White Wine Question Time, they open up to Kate about the dramatic effect of the pandemic on cancer diagnoses, the 'horrendous' shortfall in research funding, their work for Stand Up To Cancer and why Lauren, who will officially be in remission next year, plans to have 'loads of sex' as soon as she can.

Read more: Two in five with cancer symptoms did not seek help in the first coronavirus wave

Deborah, who is living with stage 4 bowel cancer, talks about her most recent operation - as a trial subject for the 'nano knife' she has just had a tumour removed, and with trademark humour, reports on how her family are adapting - "I was just coming round from the op and my phone rang. It was my daughter going 'are you picking me up today?'" she recalls.

Kate chats to You, Me and the Big C presenters Deborah and Lauren
Kate chats to You, Me and the Big C presenters Deborah and Lauren

"I said 'no, I've literally just had an operation," and she said, 'oh ok, but what's for dinner?'"

More seriously, the three women also look at the alarming statistics post-pandemic, which suggest that 15000 cancer cases may have gone undiagnosed during lockdowns.

"If we catch many of them early they are treatable, people's lives are prolonged or saved," says Lauren.

"At the start of the pandemic, they said 'the NHS is under strain' but they didn't say, 'you must still let your GP know if you have any symptoms you're concerned about'.

" It's now the most horrific backlog, and it's going to take years to get on top of it."

Both women campaign relentlessly to raise funds and awareness. But Kate's also curious to know how the past year has impacted the mental health of those newly diagnosed, or living with cancer.

Watch: Shaun Ryder reveals how he felt about living with "a load of lovies"

Lauren has anxiety, she explains - "I'm very open about my own mental health"- and admits she was angry when lockdown began. "I was quite resentful I was in this position again- adapting to a new world, when I'd already done it two years ago for cancer! 

"I'm 36, I want to go out, progress my career, have lots of lovely sex and maybe find a partner," she adds.

Deborah, by contrast, found the opposite. "My world is chaos, so I've found lockdown calming and grounding, and I'm more worried about the world opening up."

Read more: 'Frightening' scenario of one million cancer cases missed

They talk about coping with hospital alone during the past year, Lauren's fears that her cancer will return - and discuss the 'hideous' lack of research funds.

These are women who could easily be your mates - and they've got important things to say. So even if they're not drinking, pour yourself a (small) glass of wine, or a cup of tea, and pull up a chair.

"Life's a cheeky bugger," says Lauren. The good news is, so are they.

Listen now: WWQT Meets You, Me & the Big C

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