16th July 2018

Michael Duck

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No one wants to be involved in car crash but, in the case of Michael Duck, a car accident actually saved his life. The x-ray revealed a shadow on his lung and further tests confirmed Michael had early stage lung cancer.

“It’s a lot to get your head around. You go into hospital after a car accident. You’re told everything is fine, you’ve not been injured but the tests have actually found something else. In my case, that was a large 6cm tumour in my lung.

“It came as a complete surprise. I had a cough – it was a good ‘un at times. Sometimes I could cough all night but it would always get better so I wasn’t concerned by it and I certainly never even thought it could be a sign as something as serious as lung cancer”.
Michael Duck

“Despite the size, I was told it was still early stage and it could be cured. The doctors recommended surgery but I had my concerns. I’m 73 so why should I put myself through surgery when radiotherapy could do the job, I thought. Is an operation really necessary?”

After speaking to the doctors and nurses, Michael went away to consider his options and started to write things down in order to get things straight in his head. The words started to form lyrics – Michael has sung at his local pub and numerous events and charity dos – and soon he had his answer and the essential of a song.

What is around the corner?

What do I have to face?

What is the right decision

To keep me in the human race?


How do I find the answer?

Who will show me the way?

What is the right decision

To keep me here today?


Show me the way, find me the answer

Show me the way, help me see

Show me the way and we’ll face it together

Whatever the answer will be.


The answer won’t be easy

So very hard to find

But somehow I must find it

Cos there’s no way to hide.


My wife is here beside me

And somehow we’ll find a way

But should I stay as I am

Or do as the others say?


Show me the way, find me the answer

Show me the way, help me see

Show me the way and we’ll face it together

Whatever the answer will be.

“I decided to ‘do as the others say’ and listen to the doctors so I had the operation on 5th March 2018. The surgeon removed half of my lung. I was then told I may need chemotherapy to mop up anything that may have been left behind.

“Fortunately, the doctors were confident they got it all and I didn’t need chemotherapy. It was a good job they did because I was later told I wouldn’t have been able to have chemo because my body wouldn’t have been able to handle the potential side effects. As well as having lung cancer, I also have a heart condition and Parkinson’s.

“I had the op on a Monday. By Thursday, I was back in my own armchair. By Saturday, I was sat on stage performing for a charity do. I’m still listening to the doctors though. They said I couldn’t play golf for three months after my operation and, as much as I want to, as well as I feel and as wonderful as the weather is, I will do as they say. I think it’s vital everyone follows their guidance.

“You’d think losing half of your lung would have a big impact on what you can do. I get a bit out of breath but really I haven’t noticed any real difference. And I can still sing!”

After his operation, Michael showed the lyrics to a friend, Martin Cook, who set them to music and recorded it on Michael’s behalf. The song – The Answer – was born.

“I had lung cancer. I know what people are going through. I hope my song helps other people with lung cancer – be it with any treatment decisions they have to make or just to let them know there are people out there who understand what they are going through.

“I’d also like the song to raise money for Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation. The charity is doing everything it can to help more people get diagnosed early like I was. Except I was diagnosed by accident – literally! It shouldn’t take a car crash to find out you have lung cancer and, if it had never happened, my story is likely to have been very, very different.”

Listen to “The Answer” by Michael Duck and Martin Cook here and if you are moved by his music, please make a donation to Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation.

Mick has followed up “The Answer” with “Never Say Never”, which you can listen to here.