101-Year-Old WWII Veteran Becomes Oldest Person To Defeat Cancer

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Nine Sydney

A WWII veteran, who was told he only had months to live, has shocked doctors by beating cancer at the age of 101.

Bert Collins, from Bankstown, Sydney, is believed to be the world’s oldest cancer survivor.

Born in 1916, the centenarian – who says he quit smoking while in his 60s – says he’s lived to see past 100 due to ‘luck and attitude’.

Nine Sydney

According to The Daily Telegraph, Bert had a stage four melanoma which ravaged his face, brain, liver, bones and lungs, but benefited from a new immunotherapy treatment called Keytruda and the tumour on his face is now gone.

Dr Alex Menzies said:

There is a myth that older Australians shouldn’t be considered for treatment but newer immunotherapy treatments are highly efficient with minimal toxicity.

We have many patients in their 80s and 90s receiving treatment.

You can see Bert’s interview below:

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Dr Menzies said Bert was helped by the fact he was in better shape than many people decades younger than him and continued:

We’ve come so far in research to find new and effective treatments for melanoma but I’d never had a patient as senior as Bert, so we didn’t know exactly how his body would respond to the treatment.

Bert is now warning others about the danger of skin cancer, particularly younger Australians.

The 101-year-old is working with the Melanoma Institute to raise funds and awareness, warning people to wear hats and sunscreen and to stay out of the sun.

Nine Sydney

Bert’s life experience has given him a positive outlook, telling the Today Show:

I look at it this way, you can sit down and be miserable, or you can get up and fight back the best you can.

I will fight back, as fast as I can.


Anne-Marie Bojan

Anne-Marie Bojan

A sports enthusiast with a BA (Hons) in Sports Journalism, who can be found predominantly at Villa Park. Having completed a Masters in Broadcast Journalism, she then went on to work at Sky Sports, the BBC, and the Mirror. When not engrossed in sport, it's animals, guitars, and Liam Gallagher which take main focus.