Dad-of-three mistakes inoperable tumour for a pulled muscle

Doctor Xand warns about tumours not being discovered until A&E

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When garage owner Lee Young first thought he had pulled a muscle after playing golf he never suspected it was something more serious. However, after applying heat cream to the affected area he found a lump. Initially he was assured not to be alarmed.

At the time medics told the then 55-year-old that the lump was just “gristle”.

But further testing revealed a rare and incurable cancer.

Lee, from Denton in Greater Manchester, had an 8.5cm-long tumour near his kidneys, with the location making it inoperable.

The tumour was actually a secondary cancer since doctors were not able to discover the root cause of the disease.

This is known as cancer of the unknown primary (CUP), which makes it more difficult to treat.

The diagnosis was devastating to Lee, now 56. Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, he said: “My world collapsed around me.

“Being told you have cancer is one thing, but being told they can’t do anything is another thing entirely.

“I couldn’t get my head around it, if you’re going to get a cancer, this isn’t a great one to get.”

Following this diagnosis at the Tameside Hospital he was transferred to The Christie Hospital, a cancer treatment centre in Manchester, in October 2021.

It was here that Lee was presented with the opportunity to take part in a clinical trial, testing a new type of treatment.

“I was scared to death and quite nervous, but the nurses at The Christie made me feel so welcome,” Lee said.

“In March, a clinical trial became available and it’s quite rare to be able to get on a clinical trial, but I thought if it doesn’t help me, it’ll help someone in the future.

“If we don’t have these trials, we wouldn’t be where we are today. And if mine is an unusual cancer today, maybe one day it will be a curable cancer thanks to this process.

“Now I feel like there’s no point in being sad over something you can’t control.”

The trial, called CUPISCO, was established to understand whether personalised treatment options can help CUP patients.

After three rounds of chemotherapy and one round of immunotherapy as part of the trial, Lee’s tumour has shrunk more than half its original size.

Lee said he was “lucky” to be a part of the research. “Less than half of CUP patients actually meet the criteria to be put on the trial, and I was one of the lucky ones,” he added.

“I wasn’t expecting the results to be so instant. I was on quite a lot of morphine before and didn’t need to touch it after the first session of chemo.

“I know that things can change at any time, but at the moment I’m feeling fine and want to make the most out of life.”

As a show of his gratitude for The Christie, Lee took part in the Manchester Half Marathon today (October 9) with a sponsorship target of £3,000.

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