‘I am officially very poorly’: Author Iain M. Banks has terminal cancer

Author Iain Banks announced today on his website that he has cancer of the gall bladder, and is unlikely to live more than a year.

Banks is recognized as one of the most talented and original writers of his generation. His work divides between novels—such as The Wasp Factory, The Crow Road, and The Bridge; and Science-Fiction (written under the name Iain M. Banks)—Consider Phlebus, Surface Detail and The Hydrogen Sonata.

Banks wrote in his statement:

I am officially very poorly. After a couple of surgical procedures, I am gradually recovering from jaundice caused by a blocked bile duct, but that – it turns out – is the least of my problems.

I first thought something might be wrong when I developed a sore back in late January, but put this down to the fact I’d started writing at the beginning of the month and so was crouched over a keyboard all day. When it hadn’t gone away by mid-February, I went to my GP, who spotted that I had jaundice. Blood tests, an ultrasound scan and then a CT scan revealed the full extent of the grisly truth by the start of March.

I have cancer. It started in my gall bladder, has infected both lobes of my liver and probably also my pancreas and some lymph nodes, plus one tumour is massed around a group of major blood vessels in the same volume, effectively ruling out any chance of surgery to remove the tumours either in the short or long term.

The bottom line, now, I’m afraid, is that as a late stage gall bladder cancer patient, I’m expected to live for “several months” and it’s extremely unlikely I’ll live beyond a year. So it looks like my latest novel, The Quarry, will be my last.

As a result, I’ve withdrawn from all planned public engagements and I’ve asked my partner Adele if she will do me the honour of becoming my widow (sorry – but we find ghoulish humour helps). By the time this goes out we’ll be married and on a short honeymoon. We intend to spend however much quality time I have left seeing friends and relations and visiting places that have meant a lot to us. Meanwhile my heroic publishers are doing all they can to bring the publication date of my new novel forward by as much as four months, to give me a better chance of being around when it hits the shelves.

There is a possibility that it might be worth undergoing a course of chemotherapy to extend the amount of time available. However that is still something we’re balancing the pros and cons of, and anyway it is out of the question until my jaundice has further and significantly, reduced.

Lastly, I’d like to add that from my GP onwards, the professionalism of the medics involved – and the speed with which the resources of the NHS in Scotland have been deployed – has been exemplary, and the standard of care deeply impressive. We’re all just sorry the outcome hasn’t been more cheerful.

Very sad news indeed.


Posted by Paul Gallagher
05:34 pm
Wilko Johnson diagnosed with terminal cancer: Ex-Dr Feelgood guitarist rejects chemotherapy

Wilko Johnson has been diagnosed with terminal cancer of the pancreas. A statement was issued by Johnson’s manager Robert Hoy which read:


I am very sad to announce that Wilko has recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer of the pancreas. He has chosen not to receive any chemotherapy.

He is currently in good spirits, is not yet suffering any physical effects and can expect to enjoy at least another few months of reasonable health and activity.

He has just set off on a trip to Japan; on his return we plan to complete a new CD, make a short tour of France, then give a series of farewell gigs in the UK. There is also a live DVD in the pipeline, filmed on the last UK tour.

Wilko wishes to offer his sincere thanks for all the support he has had over his long career, from those who have worked with him to, above all, those devoted fans and admirers who have attended his live gigs, bought his recordings and generally made his life such an extraordinarily full and eventful experience.

Thank you.

Robert Hoy

Johnson is hailed as one of Rock’s most influential guitarists with his distinctive choppy, staccato style. He was a major influence on British Punk, and played with Ian Dury and The Blockheads after leaving Dr Feelgood in 1977. More recently there has been a resurgence of interest in Dr Feelgood after Julien Temple’s documentary on the band Oil City Confidential. Johnson has also appeared in Game of Thrones and successfully toured the UK at the end of last year. Our thoughts are with Johnson and his family.



Posted by Paul Gallagher
12:40 pm
Meditating On Cancer With Adam Yauch And Yoko Ono
11:30 am

Beastie Boy Adam Yauch is rallying the masses, and Yoko Ono, to help in his fight against cancer by engaging in a twice-daily meditation session.  From the letter sent out to the Beastie Boys mailing list:


wanted to send this out to you guys in case you were into it, or wanted to give it to anyone who you think might be.

a few friends and i are meditating at the same time twice a day.  9:30am and 6:30pm eastern standard time, for about an hour and half.

we are picturing smashing apart all of the cancer cells in the world.

we are visualizing taking the energy away from the cancer, and then sending it back at the cancer as lightening bolts that will break apart the DNA and RNA of the cells.  if you have the time, please join us in whipping up this lightening storm.  mind over matter…...

if you prefer to sit then sit, but if you are not used to meditating, or sitting quietly doesn’t sound like fun, put on some music and dance while you do the visualization, and if you want to do it at some other time, or picture curing some other illness that’s fine too.  yoko will be joining the meditation by visualizing all of us dancing with joy to celebrate the world without cancer.  all variations are welcome.  this is really just being done with a wish for all beings to be cured of all illnesses and to find true lasting happiness.

i’ll also be saying prayers for the earthquake victims in tibet, so join in on that if you can too.

please feel free to pass this onto anyone who you think may find it interesting.

with all my love,

adam yauch

I’m running out of time here on the West Coast for that first round of meditation, but I’ll be there for the second.  Beyond meditating for Yauch and the victims of the Tibetan earthquake, I do plan on taking it a bit further.

If the world is to be truly washed clean of “all illness,” can we not please link minds and find a way to cure it of this, and this, and oh, yes, this?!  “Radio Beastie” follows below:

Posted by Bradley Novicoff
11:30 am