Lancaster dad’s relief to receive full treatment for bladder cancer

Chef Chris Dickson
Chef Chris Dickson
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A Lancaster dad who was left furious after discovering his treatment for bladder cancer would be halved has now been told he will receive the full six week course.

The University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust has made a dramatic U-turn for Chris Dickson who was diagnosed with grade 1 bladder cancer in August 2013.

The head chef at the University of Cumbria in Lancaster was originally told he wouldn’t be able to get the vaccine, which he hoped would finally destroy the disease, due to a worldwide shortage of the drug. But now the dad-of-four is relieved to be told he will be treated for three weeks on the BCG vaccine and another three for mitomycin-chemotherapy.

Chris, who lives on South Road, said: “I went to have my treatment this morning, (Wednesday) and was put into a meeting, they explained everything to me in more detail.

“They said there had been a problem because of the delivery and said there is a global shortage. It has put my mind at rest and hopefully it will all be successful.”

Chris had two tumours removed in September 2013 and then one dose of chemotherapy after an operation. A cystoscopy in January 2014 showed multiple recurrences of tumours so Chris underwent six further weeks of chemotherapy – only for 16 small tumours to be found. Consultants then recommended a course of BCG, which Chris received in July, but five small tumours were found in October.

After his treatment Chris will also receive a BCG maintenance programme once a month to help reduce the chances of bladder cancer coming back. Doctors are also looking into device assisted therapy (DAT), which pumps the wall linings of the bladder to target cancer cells.

Chris said: “The family are absolutely over the moon, my wife Sharon, she goes through it all with me, she has been like a rock to me.

“All the support I have had has been fantastic.”

David Fyfe, lead clinician for cancer services at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are aware that for the past two years there has been a global shortage of the cancer treatment BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guerin) and this has affected all hospitals treating these types of cancer. Alternative treatments have been made available and we have been discussing individual care plans with patients.”