Family praise Royal after dad Donald survives cancer diagnosis - The Evesham Observer

Family praise Royal after dad Donald survives cancer diagnosis

Evesham Editorial 27th May, 2019   0

A PERSHORE family have thanked Worcestershire Royal Hospital staff for saving the life of their father and husband after he survived what was thought to be terminal cancer.

Donald Cheetham made a miraculous recovery despite being diagnosed with cancer of the lungs, liver, brain, lymph nodes, spleen, bones and skin; thanks to immunotherapy treatment at Worcestershire Royal.

He was diagnosed in 2016 by his GP following an appointment for a suspected urine infection. After ruling out the infection, his GP ordered scans which revealed a large tumour on his lung, with the cancer also having spread to his liver and spleen.

The pensioner was then handed the devastating news the cancer was likely to be terminal as the disease had spread too far to be treated effectively. After an urgent CT scan at Worcestershire Royal Hospital, Donald’s cancer diagnosis was confirmed – also revealing the tumour has spread to his lymph nodes.




His daughter Angie said: “His GP was very supportive and called in St. Richard’s Hospice to help with the support and discuss any future care needs. They helped our family prepare for losing our dad, and for our mum, Sylvia, for losing her husband of 49 years.”

A biopsy determined his primary cancer was melanoma – a serious form of skin cancer. During his first appointment with his consultant, he was offered immunotherapy as the best way forward.


Immunotherapy uses drugs to re-programme the immune system into attacking cancerous cells while leaving healthy cells unharmed.

After starting his treatment programme, which involved immunotherapy treatment every three weeks as well as radiotherapy, he became poorly with the side effects of such intense treatment but his family soon noticed an improvement.

“Suddenly he began to improve, each day he became stronger and stronger, no one could believe the speed of the recovery. Doctors put the radiotherapy on hold to allow the progress of the immunotherapy to continue,” Angie said.

“And then scans began to show that the cancerous nodules on the brain were gone, and they were shrinking elsewhere too.

“We found out we would still have dad around for Christmas. This was remarkable as we didn’t even expect him to see my birthday in early September. The frequency of his appointments reduced and dad’s energy levels and zest for life continued to improve. The CT and MRI scans became clearer and clearer of cancer.”

Donald completed his immunotherapy treatment last year and his latest scans have shown no signs of cancer and can now drive again.

“Without this treatment we wouldn’t have a dad and a husband anymore. Without the doctors and the support of hospital staff we wouldn’t have a dad and husband anymore. Without the support of our fantastic family and friends we wouldn’t have a Dad and husband anymore.

“Together we are beating cancer! Thank you Worcestershire Royal, for giving us our dad and husband back,” she added.

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