‘ Inoperable’ lung cancer patient given hope after life-saving surgery
Lung cancer patient Ivor Miller, 72, shares his experience of obtaining a second opinion after being told that nothing could be done to remove his tumour.
Two years ago, Mr Miller, a former sales representative for a pharmaceutical company, was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). The progressive nature of IPF – a condition that causes scarring of the lungs – meant that Mr Miller had to attend regular check-ups at his local hospital in Bournemouth.
During a routine check-up, a shadow was detected in Ivor’s lung, which upon further investigation, revealed a tumour. Ivor’s chest physician told him that the tumour was inoperable as it was attached to the chest wall. She recommended a strong course of chemotherapy and referred Ivor for palliative care.
Ivor became increasingly breathless and was in a great deal of pain. The family pulled together to investigate alternative treatments as they wanted to try every option possible to extend Ivor’s life. After conducting research online, Ivor’s son came across consultant thoracic surgeon, Emma Beddow, who is known throughout the UK for her expertise in lung cancer surgery.
They called Harefield Hospital on the Monday and were seen by Ms Beddow that Friday. She had already reviewed the scan and had confirmed that she would be willing to operate, especially since the tumour had grown a further 1cm in just four weeks. Ivor’s wife, Charleen comments: “This was the best news we had received in ages. We came to Harefield Hospital in pieces … and left with a real sense of hope. We returned to Harefield the following Monday, Ivor had some tests and scans on the Tuesday, and by Thursday, he was being operated on by Ms Beddow.”
Charleen explains: “The whole process was seamless. The staff in the private patients’ office couldn’t have done more to help. They took over and set the wheels in motion, organising our accommodation and supporting us through an incredibly worrying time. We were kept informed throughout the whole journey, and Ms Beddow even called me at 9pm on the Thursday to tell me that Ivor’s surgery went well.”
The day after surgery, we received the news that the tumour had been successfully removed and all nodes were clear of cancer. This was a remarkable achievement and we were so grateful to Ms Beddow for taking on the case. A lot of surgeons would not have attempted such a risky surgery, worried that it may affect their performance figures.”
Ms Beddow comments: “We were very pleased with the results of the surgery. Not only were we able to improve Ivor’s quality of life, but we were also able to achieve tumour free margins, increasing the 5 year survival rate to 40-55%. Without this surgery, his survival