The patient, a 57-year-old male, had always led a healthy lifestyle with a good diet and exercise, and had no previous type of cancer. Despite visiting two GPs for their opinion on his symptoms, and being told that his condition was nothing sinister, the patient knew something was wrong.
He was experiencing dysphagia and food sticking in his oesophagus as he tried to swallow. The patient’s symptoms became aggravated, with worsening dysphagia and rectal bleeding, but he had been told on several visits to a GP that it was indigestion. Unbeknown to him, dif¬ficulty with swallowing is a common ¬ first symptom of oesophageal cancer, caused by the tumour narrowing the passage of the oesophagus. Constantly feeling unwell and being a husband and father to a young family of three, the patient decided to take further action. The patient bene¬fitted from private healthcare insurance and asked to be referred to a specialist.
After the specialist performed a scan and an endoscopy, the diagnosis was cancer of the oesophagus. The patient was told that the prognosis was dependent on the size and location of the tumour; if the tumour was advanced and inoperable, he was told his prognosis was less than a year. It was a horrendous shock and left the patient devastated at the thought of what could happen, especially as he thought it may be an ulcer and had never considered cancer.
The patient was then referred to Mr James Gossage at London Bridge Hospital, who confirmed it was good news and the cancer was operable. After further scans to locate the tumour, in the lower oesophagus, and three months of chemotherapy, the last scan showed the tumour had shrunk considerably. Mr Gossage and Mr Davies then performed surgery on the patient under general anaesthetic to remove the affected part of the stomach, nearly 2/3 of the whole stomach, and the oesophagus. The operation, called an Oesophagectomy, involved Mr Gossage pulling the stomach up into the chest to use it to replace the oesophagus. The recovery time was fourteen days, spent in hospital following the surgery.
The patient is extremely grateful for the work of Mr Gossage and Mr Davies, and for being diagnosed early enough at London Bridge Hospital to remove the cancer before it had spread or grown. There was no need for chemotherapy and he is now back at work. He is having some difficulties adjusting to not being able to eat certain foods or big portions, but otherwise the patient is feeling healthy and happy.
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