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The BBC's Graham Satchell
"Cancer research groups have long campaigned for more funds"
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Sunday, 3 September, 2000, 12:53 GMT 13:53 UK
Libel lawyer Carman has cancer
George Carman QC
George Carman QC: Battle against cancer is winnable
The renowned libel lawyer George Carman QC has revealed he is retiring because he is suffering from prostate cancer.

Mr Carman, 70, appearing on BBC1's Breakfast with Frost programme, said he felt it was important to dispel any rumours over his decision to retire earlier this week.

"I have suffered from prostate cancer for over three years," he said.

He said he wanted to send out a message to fellow sufferers that the disease was beatable.

Anybody who has the misfortune to get the disease, it is not the end of the road

George Carman QC
When Mr Carman announced his retirement, he said he needed to receive medical treatment for "a little local difficulty".

But he said his reasons for admitting to having cancer were two-fold.

"First I don't want speculation and rumour to continue, and so people know exactly what my little problem is," he said.

"But much more importantly, I want to send out a message to people who do suffer from cancer, to tell them that you can work, you can help the doctors enormously by having a positive attitude, and anybody who has the misfortune to get the disease, it is not the end of the road."

Research attack

Mr Carman also hit out at the amount of research into cancer carried out in the UK.

"We are way behind the major European countries and the United States, and I think it is time that problem was addressed by all the political parties," he said.

Mr Carman also revealed that he often received treatment for his cancer before going to work.

"I actually had medical treatment sometimes before I went to court. Half past eight in the hospital, 9.45 at the Royal Courts of Justice."

Mr Carman has been described as the most fearsome lawyer in Britain.

He is probably best-known for representing the Guardian against the former Conservative MP Jonathan Aitken and Mohamed al-Fayed in his libel case victory against former Conservative MP Neil Hamilton.

Jonathan Aitken
Jonathan Aitken: Sentenced to 18 months for perjury
He said he intended to use his new-found free-time to write a book about his experiences of the law.

Mr Carman is famous for his formidable cross-examination technique which is said to leave those who experience it quaking in the witness box.

He represented The Sun newspaper when EastEnders actress Gillian Taylforth unsuccessfully sued it for claiming she and Geoff Knights had performed sexual acts on an A1 slip road.

He also represented Richard Branson in his libel battle with American lottery chief Guy Snowden.

George Carman was born in Blackpool, and entered a seminary at the age of 14 with the intention of becoming a priest.

But he took up a scholarship to Oxford after National Service in the Army, and was called to the Bar in 1953.

He started to practise on the Northern Circuit before moving south.

Three times married and three times divorced, he is said to enjoy the company of women without being a womaniser.

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29 Aug 00 | UK
Victims of the 'silver fox'
17 Mar 00 | C-D
Prostate cancer
29 Aug 00 | UK
Libel lawyer Carman retires
19 May 00 | Americas
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