Cancer survivor urges Sheffield people to support World Cancer Day

Cancer survivor Dr Tom Grew wants Sheffield people to support World Cancer Day.
Cancer survivor Dr Tom Grew wants Sheffield people to support World Cancer Day.
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A Sheffield doctor inspired to study medicine after beating cancer is urging city people to support World Cancer Day.

Dr Tom Grew was in the first year of a history degree at the University of Sheffield when doctors diagnosed an egg-sized lump they removed from his neck as Hodgkin lymphoma.

The scar left on Tom's neck after surgery to remove a tumour.

The scar left on Tom's neck after surgery to remove a tumour.

He underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy to treat the cancer, and after his treatment finished at the end of the summer, Tom was told there was no sign of his cancer.

Still suffering severe psychological effects, he managed to finish his history degree at the same time as his classmates. But he was so inspired by the people who had helped him that he decided to train to be a doctor.

Now, aged 31, Tom and his friend Dr Tae Lee have called on Sheffield people to take part in World Cancer Day by wearing a Cancer Research UK 'unity band' this Saturday.

Recalling his treatment, Tom said: "Although the physical side of my cancer had been successfully treated, I continued to have problems with the psychological side effects.

Tom and Dr Tae Lee

Tom and Dr Tae Lee

"For me they, seemed worse than the chemo and radiotherapy. The stress and worry of cancer seemed to take over my life.

"I was convinced it would come back and each twinge saw me running back to the doctors with an emergency appointment.

"I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression, which resulted in me taking anti-depressants and cognitive therapy.

“Yet by the time I finished my history degree, I had been so inspired by those who cared for me that I decided I wanted to study medicine.

"Cancer had changed my life in so many ways and now I had a real drive to become a doctor."

While studying, Tom became more interested in the psychological side of cancer and the importance of caring for the mental side of a patient’s illness as well as the physical.

He said: “I know that it is thanks to research that the treatments I received helped beat my cancer. But cancer greatly impacted upon my mental health, as I am sure it does with many other cancer patients.

"Yet most people don’t realise this can be a major part of someone’s cancer experience. It doesn’t get talked about.”

Tom is now training to become a psychiatrist in Sheffield.

He said: "We are urging everyone in Sheffield to wear a Unity band on World Cancer Day because one in two of us will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in our lifetime – and we gain strength from joining together as a collective force."

The Unity bands come in three different colours and are available in all Cancer Research UK shops including Pinstone Street and Eccesall Road for a suggested donation of £2, as well as online at www.cruk.org.uk/worldcancerday.

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