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‘SIRT saved my life’ says liver cancer survivor

iStock / Getty Images Plus / fizke

Martyn Griffiths

Liver cancer survivor

“Without SIRT, I would be dead by now,” says Martyn Griffiths, who was told he had liver cancer after a routine chest X-ray discovered it by chance.

When Martyn Griffiths was told he had a tumour the size of a grapefruit on his liver, his world fell apart.

But six years after being told he could have just 12 months to live, the father-of-two, 61, is back at work and enjoying spending time with his family.

His remarkable recovery, he said, was due to undergoing two selective internal radiation therapy (SIRT) procedures, which were able to shrink the tumour to a suitable size for surgical removal.

“There is no doubt in my mind that if I hadn’t had the SIRT, I would be dead now. Without it, I would not have survived,” said Martyn, a Chartered Building Surveyor from Darlington.

Shock diagnosis

Martyn’s cancer was discovered by chance when the clinician carrying out a routine chest scan happened to spot a shadow on his liver.

At the time, he was told it was nothing to worry about, but when he was referred to Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, Martyn and his wife Elaine were given the devastating news.

“When they told me, I literally fell on the floor. I had no symptoms. I’d been working and felt fine. I spent the rest of the day in a daze” he said.

“It was December 2014 and my main worry was telling the kids that close to Christmas, even though they are in their 20s.”

Bright future

Fortunately, Martyn was under the care of one of the few hospitals in the UK to provide SIRT, which works by feeding radiotherapy-laden, microscopic beads into the body via an artery. Once in the blood supply, they seek out and destroy cancer cells.

While SIRT is not available on the NHS, Freeman Hospital provides it thanks to charitable donation from the pharmaceutical company that developed the innovation.

Martyn is still under the supervision of his specialist team, but he is currently clear of cancer and is back to normal life.

“Having the treatment was a no brainer. I wanted to live,” he said.

Martyn is extremely grateful to the Freeman Hospital Consultants and all the Care Staff for the considerable level of expert care.

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