My fight against killer industrial disease

Pictured is Bladder Cancer Survivor Tony Adnitt pictured at his Stradbrook home in Sheffield
Pictured is Bladder Cancer Survivor Tony Adnitt pictured at his Stradbrook home in Sheffield
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FORMER steel worker Tony Adnitt was diagnosed with bladder cancer just six months after being made redundant from the foundry nearly 30 years ago.

FORMER steel worker Tony Adnitt was diagnosed with bladder cancer just six months after being made redundant from the foundry nearly 30 years ago.

Pictured is Bladder Cancer Survivor Tony Adnitt pictured at his Stradbrook home in Sheffield

Pictured is Bladder Cancer Survivor Tony Adnitt pictured at his Stradbrook home in Sheffield

He was only 40 years old at the time - his children Jonathan and Joanna were still at school and he and his wife Betty believed he still had many years at work left in him, not to mention his retirement.

But the whole future they had mapped out was changed drastically with the devastating news he had cancer. Gruelling courses of chemotherapy and radiotherapy followed at Sheffield’s Weston Park Hospital, before medics advised him the situation was so serious that surgery to remove his bladder was the only option left.

Tony, now aged 68, said it was a horrendous time for them all. “The chemo and the radium therapy was wicked - my eyes seemed to drop out of my face. I didn’t want to look in the mirror because it didn’t look like me any more,” he said.

“I went from being a fit and strong man to a shell of myself. When they told me I’d have to have my bladder removed it was a shock - but I knew I just had to get on with it and if that’s what had to be done, then so be it.”

Although now in the clear from the disease, the operation has resulted in a life lived within the constraints of a urostomy bag - and a constant worry at the back of his mind.

“It took a lot of getting used to, looking after something like that,” said Tony, from Stradbroke, Sheffield.

“Trying to get back to normal was tough and there have certainly been some embarrassing incidents over the years. Although I’ve been discharged from the hospital for several years now, every ache and pain makes you wonder, ‘What’s happening now?’ and, ‘Is it coming back?’”

The grandfather-of-two is convinced there is a link between his ordeal and his job history in the steelworks where he spent nearly 20 years.

He worked in several different areas including the melting shop and the hardening shop but all had one thing in common - he would come home covered in “muck”.

It’s true that much of the dirt and the grime was harmless, but he is also certain that being exposed to everything from cyanide to asbestos and a host of other chemicals in between must have had an effect on his health.

Tony said he was pleased to read in The Star about the new study into bladder cancer and has now offered up his own experiences as part of the research.

“I think it is good that they’re looking into it more,” he said. “It’s about time more was done to assess the damage of the chemicals used in the steelworks, just like was done for the miners.

“I’ve got good memories of my time there and the lads I worked with, but if it contributed to what I’ve had to go through with this illness then I would certainly like to know.”