Race against time to raise funds for Leigh Park skin cancer patient

Andy Prowting, from Leigh Park, with his girlfriend Katie Ward. ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (142581-0450)

Andy Prowting, from Leigh Park, with his girlfriend Katie Ward. ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (142581-0450)

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DEVASTATED Andy Prowting has been told he has months to live as he has skin cancer at the age of just 24.

The news came just three months after he had a cancerous mole removed and thought he was in the clear.

But then he was told the cancer had spread to his bones and liver, and he may have only nine months left to live.

Now, with no treatment available in the UK, Andy’s friends and family have rallied together to create Andy’s Army.

They want to raise £60,000 so Andy, a security supervisor, can go to Texas, USA, for potentially lifesaving treatment.

Andy first noticed a mole on his back in January this year and believes it may have developed after he was sunburnt on holiday.

He said: ‘I was in Turkey last July and even though I was applying sunscreen every hour, I got burnt.

‘In January I felt something on my back and got my mum to check.

‘There was a mole and we kept checking it and noticed it was growing a lot and I went to see my doctor.’

Andy, of Silkstead Avenue, Leigh Park, was referred to the dermatology centre in St Mary’s Community Health Campus in Milton Road, Portsmouth.

He was also diagnosed with a severe skin cancer called malignant melanoma.

In April, surgeons at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham removed the lymph nodes under his right arm and tissue in his back as part of aggressive treatment.

After having three months off from work to recover, Andy was referred to Southampton to take part in a chemotherapy clinical trial in August.

But when doctors ran tests, they found the cancer had spread to Andy’s bones and liver.

As it is a rare secondary form, neither hospital can treat it.

Andy added: ‘Without treatment I have got about nine months to live, which is scary and upsetting.

‘I can feel tired and sick and I get achy as well.’

The Burzynski Clinic in Houston offers treatment called approved targeted therapy, where drugs are given to stop the growth and spread of cancer.

‘After seeing my medical notes the clinic has accepted me, it’s just a matter of raising the money,’ added Andy.

‘We’ve raised about £11,000 in three weeks and everyone has been so supportive.

‘I’ve got to have hope, this has all been so devastating for me.’

Tomorrow, a sponsored walk from the 99p store in Park Parade, Havant, to Hayling Island will be held, starting at 10.30am. On the same day, there will be a fun day with live music at The Curlew pub, Petersfield Road, Havant, from 2pm to 9pm.

Andy’s girlfriend Katie Ward, 28, is encouraging people to support their fundraising efforts.

She said: ‘We all want to stay positive and do as much as we can for Andy.

‘This news was so unexpected for us all and it is upsetting, very upsetting.

‘But we are focusing on the fundraising as it gives us hope.

‘I encourage people to support us in any way they can.’

To find out more, visit Andy’s Army on Facebook.

Check yourself for new or changes to existing moles

SKIN cancer patient Andy Prowting is urging others to check themselves for signs of the disease.

He said: ‘I would tell people to check their moles and also if new ones come up.

‘The one on my back would bleed if I caught it and I knew that wasn’t normal.’

The NHS says the most common sign of melanoma is a new mole or a change in an existing one. They may have an irregular shape and be more than one colour, be larger than normal moles and can sometimes itch or bleed.

For more on this click here.

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