Man in ‘worst pain’ gets devastating diagnosis after cup of coffee

A train driver with the “worst pain” found out he had cancer after drinking a cup of coffee.

Michael, 58, says he “lived on” coffee before 2021 to help him get through his work shifts. In July last year though, he was sipping on his favourite drink when he noticed sharp pains in the back of his throat.

He went for a check up and was told “the worst” – he was diagnosed with throat cancer. He went through three months of “aggressive” treatment. Michael said his job makes him “feel alive” every day, but after his diagnosis he was left unable to walk up a street without feeling tired or experiencing pain.

Michael had 35 sessions of radiotherapy and three cycles of chemotherapy, and was hospitalised twice, reports LeedsLive. He got the all-clear in February 2022.

Speaking to Leeds Hospitals Charity, Michael said: “Being a train driver is the best job; it makes you feel alive every day. But in July 2021, my world turned upside down. I lived on coffee, but drinking it had started to give me sharp pains at the back of my throat. I got checked out and it was the worst-case scenario – throat cancer.

“As soon as I was diagnosed, the treatment clicked into place. I was really poorly, admitted to hospital twice and because of Covid I had no visitors. I had a feeding tube which I found really difficult. After treatment, I couldn’t walk to the top of the street, but slowly I began to build my strength back. I was looking forward to going back to work, when in April, I had a pulmonary embolism. It was the worst pain. I thought I was dying that day. The NHS saved my life.”

He added: “Looking back, I saw how incredibly lucky I was to survive it all.” Now, Michael is on a mission to raise as much awareness of throat cancer as possible and is currently training for a 10-hour walk for Leeds Hospitals Charity.

Doctor explains the symptoms of throat cancer

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He said: “I’m now training for a 10-hour fundraising walk for Leeds Hospitals Charity as a way of saying thank you to all the incredible people who kept me alive. I just want to do anything I can to help them, to help pay for that extra equipment they need. It was hard being so ill, but I can’t praise the hospital staff highly enough.”

Professor David Sebag-Montefiore, Audrey and Stanley Burton Professor of Clinical Oncology and Health Research; Director of Leeds Cancer Research Centre said: “The Leeds Cancer Centre is more than just a hospital for Leeds. We are one of the largest comprehensive cancer centres in the country, caring for patients across Yorkshire. We offer a specialist cancer service and world-leading research, while also providing emotional, physical and psychological support for our patients and their loved ones.

“Around 250 people a week come to our hospitals to be given a diagnosis of cancer. Our teams do everything they can to support every patient and their families during this incredibly difficult time. Cancer is a disease that touches all our lives. Although cancer survival has doubled over the last four decades, we want to go further and accelerate progress to make the biggest difference for our patients.”

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