Frazer was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2014 whilst studying to be an opera singer at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Following surgery to remove his testicle, he underwent three months of chemotherapy.
“During chemotherapy, I was in a state. I was feeling like crap. I felt blue, I felt sick, I was demotivated. I was horrendous to be around. I couldn’t stand life. I couldn’t stand the treatment. I was so close to giving up.
I ended up in the Samaritan Ward at Guy’s Hospital as I had reacted to the chemotherapy so badly that day that I had to be observed all night. In the morning, a Dimbleby Cancer Care nurse came to see me. She did some reiki and I felt the most intense, amazing, relief. I couldn’t stop crying. I didn’t feel like crap; whatever she was doing was working and I was delighted – utterly delighted – to be free of my chemotherapy symptoms just for those few minutes.
After my treatment had come to an end, I started having panic attacks. Why did I get Cancer? Am I going to get cancer again? I contacted the charity and explained what was going on and they put me in touch with some of their councillors who were able to find me a Mindfulness course. It changed my life and I still use the techniques they taught me now.
I tried to sing again but things didn’t seem right. I began questioning my training up to this point and my abilities as a performer. On the advice of my singing teacher, I went to see a consultant who confirmed that the acid reflux I’d had during chemotherapy had damaged my vocal chords.
I was devastated that I couldn’t sing anymore and wasn’t sure what to do with my life next. After some thought, I decided to join British Airways as cabin crew. I spent almost two years in the skies and then came back down to earth when the yearning to have a connection to music seemed utterly all-consuming.
I now teach singing at the Southbank International School, for StageCoach Performing Arts, I run four choirs – including The Lil’s, an all-female choir based in Angel and Islington – and have a very busy private teaching practice. Life is full-on and I’m super busy but I get so much out of my teaching: it’s great to be able to make a difference.
Since cancer, I’ve performed a few times and that door is still open. Thankfully, my voice seems to have benefitted from a rest. I’ve been having the odd singing lesson and the feedback is always the same – that my voice is pretty-much back to full capacity. Whether I’ll trust it in the same way as before is another question but it’s great to have back my connection to music once again: something which I loved before my diagnosis.
Dimbleby Cancer Care really saved my life. They don’t cure cancer: that’s not their aim. They simply take your hand and they walk you through it which, when you’re in the eye of the storm, is just what you need.”
Frazer Scott, 29, Orpington