In early 2020, Willie started experiencing a painful ‘stitch’ on his right side. He continued to develop unusual, persistent symptoms such as food coming back up and unexplained weight loss.
He was sent to A&E but was later sent home – they could not identify the cause of his symptoms.
It was when Willie’s wife Joan noticed him having difficulty swallowing one day, that alarm bells rang for her.
Joan remembered where she had seen this before – when her Dad was sick with Oesophageal Cancer. A cancer that he passed away from just 1 short month after diagnosis.
“March 2020 was a really frightening time. I recognised the symptoms as my Dad had died from this disease.” said Joan “I had never heard of Oesophageal Cancer until my Dad had it. When he was diagnosed it had spread – all they could offer was palliative care and he passed away just one month later.”
Willie reflects now on how different his experience has been, due to the significant progress that has been made in this area in recent years.
“Cancer has been difficult” said Willie. “but I’m grateful to be alive.”
“I had stage 3 Oesophageal Cancer yet I’m back at work and living life to the full now. I’m delighted to be alive. I’m a lucky one – I’ve survived it.”
Much progress has been made in the last 2 decades and we have seen a 50% increase in survival rates for people diagnosed with Oesophageal Cancer in Ireland, thanks to research.
However, there is lots more work to be done and more funding is needed if we are to continue to bring hope to those affected and make more survivors.
Support the Oesophageal Cancer Fund today to help fund life-saving Oesophageal Cancer research and awareness raising programmes.