Cancer survivor David Hibbitt is celebrating being given the all-clear by getting married – and claims his recovery is down to taking cannabis oil. The 33-year-old will tied the knot with fiancée Heather Martin the afternoon of Friday, April 17 after spending the past two-and-a-half years battling bowel cancer.
Former warehouse worker David was diagnosed with the disease in July 2012 and had various forms of treatment. But last year he decided to stop having chemotherapy and take cannabis oil instead, in the hope it would save his life. Now the father-of-one, of Dale View Drive, Silverdale, says he has been cancer-free since his last scan in January and is looking forward to the future. He said: “Friends had told me about cannabis oil and I dismissed it at first.
But in February last year I was told I only had 18 months to five years to live, and I had to try everything I could. I felt like the chemo was killing me and I felt I had nothing to lose. I went on the internet and there was a lot of information about it.
David was diagnosed with stage-three bowel cancer after initially being told he had hemorrhoids. He had radiotherapy and chemotherapy before having surgery to remove his large bowel in March 2013. The cancer returned and he had another operation in July 2013 , followed by more chemotherapy. He was given the all-clear before Christmas that year, but a month later he found a lump, and was told the cancer was in the lymph nodes in his groin.
This time they told me there wasn’t a lot they could do. In July, after doing a lot of research, I got some cannabis oil. I was having chemo, and I was getting to a point where I couldn’t really do much, I had no energy. In August I decided I’d had enough and I was going to stop.
David then had an operation to remove the affected lymph nodes, but says he chose to carry on taking cannabis oil rather than have any more treatment.
Following a scan in January he was given the all-clear and has been cancer-free since – giving him the chance to organise his wedding to partner of six years, Heather. The will marry at Newcastle Register Office followed by a reception at the Jubilee Hall in Stoke. David, dad to five-year-old Ashton, said: “We never thought this would happen, it’s great. Fingers crossed now I will grow old. “I feel really good and I hope my story will help other people.”
Nursery nurse Heather, aged 26, said: “I didn’t want him to take the cannabis oil at first because it’s illegal, but I saw the change in him and slowly got used to it.”He is a determined person and did a lot of research. He wanted to live. We are all amazed how well he’s done. I can’t see my life without him. We have come through a hell of a lot.”
Cancer Research UK says it was aware of patients using cannabis extracts to treat themselves, but there was ‘no good evidence’ from clinical trials to prove the practice was safe and effective. The charity is supporting clinical trials into the use of the drug and a synthetic cannabinoid to treat the disease.
Dr Kat Arney, Cancer Research UK’s science communications manager, said: “We know that cannabinoids – the active chemicals found in cannabis – can have a range of different effects on cancer cells grown in the lab and animal tumours. But at the moment there isn’t good evidence from clinical trials to prove that they can safely and effectively treat cancer in patients.
Despite this, some cancer patients do choose to treat themselves with cannabis extracts. Researchers are collecting patients’ experiences to build a picture of whether these treatments are helping or not, although this is weak evidence compared to properly-run clinical trials. Cancer Research UK is supporting clinical trials for treating cancer with cannabinoid-based drugs in order to gather solid data on whether they benefit people with cancer.
Staffordshire Moorlands herbalist Charlotte Webb, who owns company Homestead Herbal, said other plants could be used effectively in the treatment of cancer. The 27-year-old said: “Herbs can often have a supportive role for patients with cancer, of course alongside orthodox medicine. “I’ve supported several patients on their healing journey and they reported improved sense of well-being. “Herbs should be prescribed by a qualified medical herbalist and all cancer patients should have the involvement of an oncologist.”