VIEWPOINT: Spot the signs of cancer and get treatment early

Nigel Short, Viewpoint
Nigel Short, Viewpoint
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I’m shocked at what I’m reading just now about the length of time people wait when symptoms of mouth cancer appear.

I feel it’s entirely down to a lack of awareness of what the signs are - and that even applies to GPs.

My own experiences of this were only a few years ago, from when I first visited my GP with a lump in my neck in July 2005 – to finally being referred to the hospital TWO YEARS later.

I became so worried that I lied to the GP and said I thought the lump was getting bigger.

In actual fact – it was getting bigger – but because my lump was only a lymph gland catching the cancerous cells that my tumour was spreading around my body – it was only growing in size fractionally every month. When I was finally diagnosed – it turned out the tumour on my tonsil was the size of a plum.

A Stage 3 squamous cell carcinoma. I was given a 30 per cent chance of living five years – and was also told that had I not been referred when I was – I would have probably lived no longer than six months.

Thankfully – when I was referred, I was given the most amazing treatment by my surgeons and oncologist at Weston Park Hospital in Sheffield at Christmas 2007.

Had I been referred two years earlier when I first found the lump I could have potentially received far less invasive treatment.

I cannot stress enough the importance of insisting to your GP that you want to be referred. Your life really could (literally) depend on it.

Being a Yorkshireman, after my first text cost me over £20 to let close friends and family know about my diagnosis, I decided to write about my journey in a blog to keep family and friends updated for FREE! The first day after diagnosis, four people read it, by the end of my treatment, I am honoured that 32,000 people were regularly checking in to catch up on my progress and Sheffield Wednesday fans had raised over £10k for Weston Park’s charity.

My book, Nigel 1, Cancer 0 was released in mouth cancer awareness month last November and £1 from every book sold will be donated to Weston Park Hospital- available on Solopreneur Publishing Book Store site or £2.99 for the e-book on Amazon