A FATHER-of-one has been given a ray of hope after being told he is currently clear of cancer a year after his devastating diagnosis.
Owen Thomas, from Horndean, started to feel unwell at the end of 2016 but dismissed the signs.
I asked the doctors “what do I do now?” and they said “go and live your life”Owen Thomas
As previously reported in The News, in February last year he was told he had incurable colon cancer.
The 34-year-old started chemotherapy and was recently given the news by doctors that he is currently clear of his cancer.
Owen said: ‘I couldn’t believe it at first. Then when it sank in, it was such a relief.
‘I know the cancer might still come back but for now I have everything to live for.’
When he was first diagnosed, Owen and his wife Ali were unsure if he would get to see his young son Rudy grow up.
Blood tests and a colonoscopy revealed his symptoms of getting tired easily and having stomach pains were due to the cancer.
Following the diagnosis, Owen underwent two operations and several stays in hospital during which the tumour and 44 cancerous lymph nodes were removed.
He added: ‘When I had the PET scan, the doctors said my insides lit up like a Christmas tree – the cancer was so active.
‘I just thought “I’m still young. I’m going to be okay. What needs to happen for me to get better?”’
But the oncologist broke the news that the colon cancer was at stage four and incurable.
It showed a mutation called BRAF which meant options for chemotherapy were limited and the chances of it working were small. Owen described the news as a ‘shock’ and the worst day of his life.
Despite a lack of treatment options, Owen started chemotherapy in May. After the course had ended he had a CT scan which, to everyone’s surprise, showed no trace of cancer.
Owen said: ‘I got a phone call and the doctors said there was nothing visible.
‘It didn’t mean the cancer was gone. It just meant that there was nothing big enough to show up as active.
‘It was very overwhelming. I asked the doctors “what do I do now?” and they said “go and live your life”.
‘I phoned Ali – I think she cried. Everything changed that day. Everyone is amazed.
‘No one seems to know why I’ve had this apparent recovery.
‘I’m very realistic about my life. Cancer is still hanging over me, but I’m well enough to enjoy life again.
‘I don’t worry about things as much as I used to.’
Owen’s plans for the future began with a new job in the estates office of Portsmouth City Council. In the longer term, he hopes to join Hampshire Constabulary.
He is also warning people not to ignore the early signs of bowel cancer and to see their GP is they have any concerns.