Son of Peter Sutcliffe's first murder victim speaks out after recent cancer scare

Inspirational motivational speaker Richard McCann has urged people not to let fears about the pandemic to stop them visiting their GP after experiencing a cancer scare himself in recent months.

Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 6:00 am

Richard McCann, who is the son of Peter Sutcliffe’s first victim Wilma McCann and is now a motivational speaker and best-selling author, has recently had a cancerous mole removed from his arm after the alarm was raised by his GP.

Having visited over an unrelated matter, the GP spotted a worrying mole and referred Richard for further tests which revealed it was indeed cancerous but thankfully at a very early stage.

Richard is set to have further tests and check ups but has been told his prognosis is very positive and is now backing a campaign led by MacMillan Cancer Support which urges anyone with any worrying symptoms to visit their GP.

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Richard McCann. Picture: SWNS

He said: “It just shows you can never be too careful, if I hadn’t gone to my GP for a chest infection the doctor might never have seen my skin, spotted the two troubling blemishes - a thumbnail sized freckly brown mark on my back and what proved to be a cancerous mole on my arm - the outcome could’ve been very different.”

He added: “I fully appreciate that people are concerned about Covid-19 and the impact it’s had but because I was lucky enough to visit my GP on an unrelated matter, he happened to spot something he believed warranted further investigation. I’ve been put in a very strong position as a result and I’m incredibly grateful.

“That is why I’m backing the Macmillan campaign, urging anyone with cancer symptoms or any symptoms they feel are persistently unusual or untoward to make an appointment and go and see their GP.”

Richard was five when his mother was murdered but he has since gone on to turn the shocking personal tragedy into an unlikely blueprint for success - now a highly-regarded motivational speaker who helps inspire businesses to be resilient through his iCan Academy.

His cancer scare comes after his wife Helen was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013 after she noticed a feeling as though her bra strap was still on, when it wasn’t - and immediately went to the doctors.

Richard said: “Following Helen’s own visit to the doctor seven years ago they found worrying calcification and she had a preventative double mastectomy. It was later confirmed to be an invasive tumour, so she was very lucky,” he said.

He also tragically lost one of his sisters Angela two years ago after lung cancer was diagnosed too late and she died within weeks.

“Doctors’ appointments relating to cancer symptoms are significantly down on pre-Covid times, so it’s incredibly important that we all make the choice to visit our doctor for anything that might be a cancer symptom - it could be a life saving decision,” said Richard.

Nancy Whittaker, Macmillan’s Interim Head of Partnerships - North and North West England said: “Visits to the doctor relating to cancer symptoms are currently down on average by 18 per cent on before the pandemic and this is very worrying.

“We are already seeing evidence of people presenting to their doctor later in their cancer journey which can lead to significantly worse outcomes.”

Anyone in need of cancer support can phone Macmillan on 0808 808 00 00, visit

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