“I have no stomach - doctors said it was a ticking time bomb”, says Barnsley man hoping to raise awareness

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission on items purchased through this article, but that does not affect our editorial judgement.

“People think I’m kidding when I tell them I don’t have a stomach”

A Barnsley man was told his stomach was a “ticking time bomb”, and he would be dead within three years if he did not have it removed.

Doctors told Adam Shaw that he carries a high-risk gene mutation after they found it in his dad, who sadly lost three of his 11 siblings to the same rare stomach cancer.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Adam, whose real name is Richard, said: “If my dad had been from a smaller family, and it had only killed one person, they would not have known to look into it so much and I would probably have died from it.”

After finding out in 2017 he had a condition connected to the mutation, called hereditary diffuse gastric cancer, Adam was advised to have his stomach removed as a precaution.

Adam Shaw from Barnsley, has had his stomach removed.Adam Shaw from Barnsley, has had his stomach removed.
Adam Shaw from Barnsley, has had his stomach removed.

He said: “I was only 33 at the time, so I wasn’t keen on the idea.

“I had a bit of a think, and on my behalf, my mum got in touch with a Cambridge University doctor who is researching 

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“A few weeks later, they told me I had 52 areas of signet cell carcinoma in my stomach lining. I hadn’t known anything about it.

“They advised me to have my stomach removed, or I would be dead in two to three years. The specialist told me, ‘you are literally a ticking time bomb’.”

Micrograph of signet-ring adenocarcinoma.Micrograph of signet-ring adenocarcinoma.
Micrograph of signet-ring adenocarcinoma.

In the years since his operation in February 2018, Adam has had “agonising” complications, including multiple hernias and twisted bowels, but is generally healthy.

He said: “I do feel okay in myself, but I have needed some extra operations and lost a lot of weight. 

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“They put pipes at both ends of the stomach, took the stomach out, and joined the pipes. So I have to be careful not to overdo it. They said it is like I have an extreme gastric band.

Adam Shaw, a warehouse operative from Barnsley.Adam Shaw, a warehouse operative from Barnsley.
Adam Shaw, a warehouse operative from Barnsley.

“I don’t feel hungry anymore because my stomach can’t send a signal to my brain. 

“I do get hunger pains in a way, but it comes from a different place. I can’t describe it - it is like losing one of your senses.

People think I’m kidding when I tell them I don’t have a stomach.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Adam wants to encourage anyone whose family has a history of certain cancers to get themselves tested after losing his auntie, Susan Shearman, and two uncles, Carl and Nigel Shaw.

Adenocarcinoma in the stomach.Adenocarcinoma in the stomach.
Adenocarcinoma in the stomach.

He added: “If you have a family history of these cancers, I think people should be aware of it and get tested.”

Signet cell cancer, also called signet ring cell cancer, starts in the glandular cells and is most often found in the stomach, but can also be found in the bowel, pancreas, bladder, breasts or lungs.

He added: “I have an eight-year-old, and they told me not to have any more children in case it passes on. If people know they have it, they can have IVF and ‘fix’ the gene.”

More information about signet cell cancer can be found via the NHS website and Cancer Research UK.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.