Health MOT saves life with rapid detection of colon cancer

A partner in a firm of Newport solicitors, Rod Young, was in his mid 50s when he noticed a mild stomach ache going on for almost a month. A self pay referral for a Nuffield Health 360 Health Assessment detected symptoms leading to a diagnosis and treatment of colon cancer.

Rapid diagnosis and subsequent treatment gave him the all clear and his gratitude means sharing his story for others to benefit.

Rod says, “I had just got back from my holidays in 2018 when I noticed a mild tummy discomfort and put it down to a richer diet whilst away. From time to time, it settled down and I would forget about it but I still went to my GP and had blood tests and ultrasound which showed nothing really untoward. I live a fairly healthy lifestyle, so when my GP just said we’ll monitor it for 3 months and see if it gets worse, I felt that I should do something sooner to check. I am an avid Cardiff City supporter and I mentioned my experience on match day to a friend who told me about the corporate healthcheck that he and his colleagues have via their employer.

He suggested I do this for myself as, at the cost of £500 – £600 to potentially save your life, it is really a no brainer. It is almost like getting your car MOT ‘d – if the cost of repairs came to that, I would think I had got off lightly. It is a question of priorities and looking after your health has to come top of the list.”

“My dad had undergone spinal surgery at Nuffield Health’s Vale hospital and was very impressed with their care. After looking online, I rang them up and was put through to the Nuffield Cardiff Bay hospital where they explained what the 360 health assessment would involve. I got an appointment with Dr Morgan straight away and had various blood tests, diet and lifestyle assessments.

Whilst the blood tests were relatively normal, the combination of my physical symptoms and the slightly lowered red blood cell count and finding of a fullness in my lower abdomen on examination alerted Dr Morgan and she asked her colorectal specialist colleague Prof Haray to look at my results.

That evening, Dr Morgan rang me to say that Professor Haray would see me two days later, where he performed a physical examination and a colonoscopy straight away. This showed a tumour in my colon and so, using the same kit, he did a biopsy at the same time. This set the wheels in motion for further MRI and CT scans privately within the same fortnight to see whether the cancer had spread.”

“After two days anxiously waiting, whilst various specialists reviewed my test results, Prof Haray rang me at 9.30pm one evening to reassure me that the cancer was contained within the colon. I had the option of being treated on the NHS or having private treatment and chose private to be sure I had Prof Haray. Within a fortnight, I had surgery to remove the tumour. Whilst a 2 hour operation was expected, it turned into a 5 hour operation as my tumour had burst through the wall of my colon, attaching itself to my kidney. I then had a course of chemotherapy and after a traumatic 6 months from the initial healthcheck, I got the all clear.”

“Over the last 18 months, at my suggestion, around 7 of my friends have had the 360 healthcheck and been reassured that there are no nasty surprises awaiting them. Now with a family history, I am able to advise my children in their mid 20s to keep an eye out for symptoms. After the worry of the health scare, my life is back on track as normal. Since my operation I have taken up road cycling and have done cycling trips to Paris and in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco.

I still do a weekly park run, cycle regularly, enjoy football matches, walk my dogs and, courtesy of my wife, enjoy good healthy food and only drink in moderation. It was extremely bad luck that I got the colon cancer but even better luck to get an early diagnosis and effective treatment quickly. I am so grateful to my friend for suggesting the healthcheck and Dr Morgan and Professor Haray remain my all-time saviours!”

For more information contact the Health Assessments line 08452 302040, Cardiff & Vale Hospitals 02920 836714 or visit us online at
www.nuffieldhealth.com/hospitals/cardiff-and-vale.