DAD-OF-TWO Bruce Inker refused to believe the only way to treat his cancer was to remove part of his lower bowel with the consequence of a lifetime using a colostomy bag.
So the 57-year-old from Kidlington began doing his own research on the internet and discovered another option – contact radiotherapy in Liverpool – that has shrunk a golf ball-sized tumour down to just a tiny scar.
Now he is fundraising to bring the equipment, which delivers a high dose of radiation in a small concentrated area, to the Churchill Hospital in Oxford.
Mr Inker was disagnosed with bowel cancer in April last year and received radiotherapy and chemotherapy at the Churchill.
However, a scan showed there were still cancerous cells and he was told the only option was the operation to remove the lower part of his bowel.
Mr Inker said: “Would you want a portaloo attached to your body?
“The side effects of that surgery could also impact on nerves around that area and I would potentially be incontinent with urine.
“It would also have been a three- hour operation and the recuperation would be six months.”
He discovered the treatment was available privately for £2,000 at the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre in Liverpool. Contact radiotherapy is also now available at the Castle Hill Hospital in Hull and Mr Inker said he was now dedicated to getting it offered on the NHS in Oxfordshire.
Mr Inker added: “Those parts of the country are more forward thinking than we are.
“Things are getting back to normal and I’m doing everything I did previously – going to football and going on holiday.”
Contact radiotherapy is not a solution for all patients. It is designed for older people who wouldn’t be able to go under general anaesthetic.
It also can be suitable for people who don’t want an operation like Mr Inker, but is only suitable to treat tumours in the lower part of the bowel.
Mr Inker, who is married and has two adult children, Adam, 29, and Michelle, 27, is trying to raise £350,000 for the Oxford Colon Cancer Trust (Occtopus).
Prof Sun Mynt, the lead clinician at the Clatterbridge centre in Liverpool, said: “I’m sure he will succeed. He is a determined man.
“This will make patients aware there are other options available.
“The treatment improves quality of life. If it doesn’t work patients can still have surgery.”
Contact radiotherapy is known as the Papillon technique, named after French professor Jean Papillon, from Lyon, who pioneered the treatment.
As it does not involve general anaesthesia it is more suitable for elderly patients. It has a 95 per cent success rate with superficial tumours and is 75-85 per cent successful with advanced tumours. Surgery may also still be needed.
Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in the UK, affecting both men and women.
It is also the second most common cause of cancer death in the UK.
To help raise funds for a new facility Mr Inker is planning an auction later this year. Anyone who can help donate prizes can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org