Overstrand cancer patient says ‘watch out’ for symptoms of an increasingly-common potential killer
A north Norfolk golfing fanatic is helping raise awareness of a relatively-unknown cancer so that people recognise symptoms and seek help from their doctor before it's too late to treat effectively.
Paul Lesslie, 61, from Overstrand, is back on the greens at the Royal Cromer Golf Club after keyhole surgery to treat cancer of the oesophagus, or gullet, in September, preceded and followed by chemotherapy.
The cancer, which affects the long tube that carries food from the throat to the stomach, is now the fourth biggest cancer killer in men and the sixth in women - and Norfolk has one of the highest rates of oesophagus-gastric cancers in the country.
Mr Lesslie thought he might have an ulcer when he finally went to see his doctor after about a month and a half of discomfort.
'It wasn't necessarily that I couldn't swallow, it was that the food didn't go down into my stomach,' he said. Finding, at first, that soft foods didn't cause problems, he was not unduly alarmed but now wishes he had acted sooner.
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Mr Lesslie was full of praise for NHS staff who cared for him during his treatment which saw him back home in just five days after an operation to remove his gullet; a record for the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.
He is wholeheartedly supporting the NHS campaign which urges anyone to see their doctor without delay if food ever feels as if it's sticking in their throat when they swallow, or if they experience heartburn or indigestion on and off for three weeks or more.
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