Being told you have cancer is no easy feat, but being told you have cancer twice is unimaginable. Richard Seddon, 57, was diagnosed with prostate cancer back in 2018 and then throat cancer last year
There are more than 200 cancer symptoms, so being alert to the potentially early warning signs of the disease could save lives.
Case in point for Richard Seddon, who despite his shocking diagnoses remains positive and believes it’s this positivity that has helped him get through it all.
Symptoms of cancer can be so minor that in many cases, they’re ignored.
The current pressures on cancer care, however, highlight the pressing need to raise public awareness of the warning signs.
But there are many other early warning signs to be aware of, which many may not relate to cancer.
Here, Richard explains the first symptoms he noticed.
Richard’s father sadly lost his life due to prostate cancer, which made him extra vigilant.
So much so that he attended a genetic testing at the Royal Marsden in Surrey with Professor Rosalind Eeeles.
Genetic testing finds changes in genes that can cause health problems.
It’s mainly used to diagnose rare and inherited health conditions and some cancers.
“I was told that I had a predisposition for prostate cancer but my brother, who also underwent the testing, was not,” Richard said.
Early warning symptom
For Richard, his first indication that something was not right was when he spotted blood in his semen.
“I knew this was unusual and straight after this discovery I went to my doctors to undergo a number of tests to determine the cause.”
A prostate biopsy involves taking small pieces of prostate tissue to be looked at under a microscope to check for cancer cells.
It was then that he was told he had prostate cancer.
“I had a radical prostatectomy, which means taking out the prostate and examining it in order to make sure it hasn’t spread.
“I was told it had not spread, which was very lucky.”
After overcoming prostate cancer, Richard was diagnosed with throat cancer last year.
“I have never smoked in my life and am a moderate drinker so it came as quite a shock,” he said.
“I had an unusual lump on the side of my neck near my jaw. At first, I thought it was Covid-related but when I couldn’t shift it, I thought it must be something more sinister and turns out it was.
“I was told I caught my throat cancer through the HPV virus.”
HPV is the same virus that is responsible for most cases of cervical cancer, which Richard sadly lost his mum to when she was 52.
Most people may get a throat infection from the virus that goes away, but some people go on to develop cancer in the throat or tonsils some 20 to 30 years later, warns UCI Health.
Richard underwent 35 fractions and two chemotherapies starting in December 2021.
“I cooked a big family meal for Christmas but couldn’t taste anything as that was the side effect from treatment.
“In fact, at one point my sense of taste was so bad I couldn’t decipher between salt and sugar, and now that it’s slowly coming back, I realise how much salt and sugar is added into so many foods.”
Richard’s positivity and strength helped when he got the all-clear from throat cancer on June 6 2022.
“It’s like a rollercoaster,” he explained.
“At first you are really scared but when you get to the first bend you think to yourself ‘well I am in it now’.
“ Bexley Wing in Leeds were so incredible to me during my time there and were so accommodating.
“They are the blueprint for the NHS.”
His strong message to others is not to be too shy about unusual health ailments and not to worry about the time it may take to go to the doctors or for more tests, particularly among men.
“Some men are very introverted but when health and family is concerned you have to do this,” he added.
“Don’t worry about the time it takes, just go and find out to help put your mind at rest.
“You may not be so lucky if you leave it too long.”
For Richard, despite having two different types of cancers, he believes his life is a blessing.
“I am happy spending time with my family and am looking forward in life.”