Tony's story

Photograph of Tony

Tony is a retired finance director. He loves gardening, lives with his wife Philippa and has four children.

Tony had Barrett’s oesophagus before he developed oesophageal cancer. Luckily, it was caught early and treated successfully.

He took part in a trial researching a new test for Barrett’s oesophagus.

Cytosponge test

'"What happens if the string breaks?" That was the first question I asked about the Cytosponge test. In 2014, I took part in the BEST2 trial after being diagnosed with oesophageal cancer three years before. It was my way of giving something back, as my cancer was diagnosed and treated early.

The test involves swallowing a capsule on a string. You coil the string up, put it in your mouth and wash the capsule down with a glass of water. You can feel it when the nurse pulls it out but it's not unpleasant. It is quick and much easier than an endoscopy.

I had my first endoscopy in 1999 as I have a history of bad indigestion. I was sedated which meant I was out of action for 24 hours, and there's the stress of having a tube put down your throat."

'A marvellous procedure'

Diagnosing oesophageal cancer earlier means you might be able to avoid major surgery. You can remove the cancer from the oesophagus before it does more damage.

I knew I had Barrett's oesophagus two years before an endoscopy diagnosed early stage cancer.

I had an operation to cut out the cancer from my oesophagus and an experimental heat treatment called HALO to zap the rest of the abnormal cells away.

Having Barrett's puts people at higher risk of cancer, so a test to diagnose it is a marvellous procedure. I hope the Cytosponge test gets rolled out and helps more people beat oesophageal cancer.'

Life after cancer

'I have annual check-ups now and hope to remain free of cancer. I count my blessings every day and value the gift of life much more.

Travelling, gardening and spending time with family and friends is far more precious now.

Philippa and I are learning to ballroom dance too. I will continue to help in any way I can to defeat this disease.'

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