Patient Stories

Bob Howes – getting the right specialist to diagnose your oral cancer

Cancer Type : Oral cancer

My name is Denis (Bob) Howes. I am 68 and live with my lovely wife Jenny in Weybridge Surrey. In February 2013 we celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary and we have two children and four grandchildren. I am now retired and enjoy my interest in all sports, particularly my support of Fulham Football Club.

Bob Howes Story

In 2008 a lump appeared on my neck and gradually got bigger and bigger, my very best friend George Cohen who was in the England world cup winning side of 1966 kept on nagging me to go to the doctors to see what the lump was all about. George who himself had bowel cancer in his thirties was very persistent in telling me “You don’t get these lumps for nothing, go to see the doctor!” After a while thankfully, I did take his advice and went to see a doctor at Weybridge Health Centre, where a locum examined me and said it could be glandular or tooth related problem. He then prescribed me some medication and said to come back in a couple of weeks if there was no improvement.

After a few days I thought this lump could be tooth related, so I decided to go and see my dentist Doctor Irena Blazewicz at her surgery in Twickenham. When she examined me she said the lump was not tooth related and promptly asked her receptionist to make an appointment with a consultant at Parkside Hospital in Wimbledon.

After more consultations including an MRI scan, biopsies and several teeth removed I was finally diagnosed with T3N2b SCC left tongue base cancer.

When I was told this, I was naturally devastated, and thought the end of the world was in front of me, I looked so fit and healthy, so it never entered my mind that I had such an awful disease.

I was then introduced to Professor Kevin Harrington who explained the treatment that was planned out for me; 3 sessions of chemo therapy and 6 week daily radio therapy treatment.

When I came out of my first meeting with Kevin I felt so confident that with his help and the treatment I would win the battle against cancer, and indeed I have. Thanks to all the treatment, the medical staff at The Royal Marsden and of course my hero who is now deservedly titled Professor Kevin Harrington. I must say all my family and friends gave me so much encouragement and support which helped me to be very positive. I am now leading a healthy and normal life.

Before and after my treatment, I found talking with previous patients who had experienced cancer, helped me to understand the treatment and be more and more positive. So if you would like to speak to me regarding my cancer treatment I would be more than happy to do so.

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