'I found it hard to believe' - Man urges people to be vigilant after red mark diagnosed as cancer
A man from Nottingham was left shocked and surprised after finding out a red mark on his leg - which he thought was from his walking boots - was actually blood cancer.
Hugh McClintock, from West Bridgford, found out his diagnosis after a visit to his GP in 2017 and is now urging others to be vigilant.The 76-year-old first realised that something might be wrong when he returned from a walking holiday and had a reddening of his legs which he initially thought was from his walking boots.
He described his symptoms to his local GP during a routine blood test, after which, he was referred to Nottingham City Hospital for further tests.He was given an early diagnosis of Stage 1 Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia - which is a rare type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow.
At the time he did not require treatment, but the leukaemia moved to Stage 2 in March last year.He said that in many cases, cancer can be confused with something else.
Mr McClintock added: "In my case, I was walking with friends in Northampton and on the last day, I noticed a red patch. And it did not go down in the following days as you would expect it to."And it just happened that about three days later, I went for a checkup with my GP. He took my blood pressure and so on, and I mentioned this to him. And that is probably when the alarm bell rang, so then we arranged to have blood tests."A few weeks later, he was referred to the City Hospital haematology department.
He added: "It was quite good that I was able to get that confirmation pretty early on. As it happened, it took a few days but it was enough to say that something was going on there, that we needed to have blood tests. And that was confirmed - and it was the initial diagnosis."He said that other than the red patch, he felt "pretty normal".
He continued: "I was quite surprised that these blood tests showed an underlying condition because other than the red patch - I felt pretty normal. I found it quite hard to believe at the time, because I just felt normal."
He is now preparing to tackle Cure Leukaemia’s London To Paris cycle in June to help raise funds for the charity’s pioneering Trials Acceleration Programme (TAP) Network.
With his wife Diana, 74, they will join over 150 cyclists taking part in the 478km challenge.As part of his treatment, Mr McClintcock will still be required to take oral medication twice a day throughout the cycle, but being a keen cyclist himself, he knows the challenge that awaits him and Diana.
He added: "I am sure it will be a great experience for us both. The sight of Paris and cycling up to the Eiffel Tower as part of a team will be tremendous and a great feeling.“I am a regular cyclist and have been for many years. Since retiring 16 years ago, I use my bike most days. I regard keeping up cycling as very important for my physicial health and that is all part of managing my treatment in addition to my medication.”So far, the couple have raised £780 out of the £3000 target. Mr McClincock added: “It is not only a tremendous challenge, but a great opportunity. Both my wife and I are taking partand we are very keen to prepare for it and raise funds for a very worthy cause – leukaemia research.“It is vitally important that we continue to fund leukaemia treatment and clinical trials. I have benefitted from previous funding of leukaemia research so I have a very strong interest in helping todrive that further."Cure Leukaemia Chief Executive James McLaughlin added: "We are always thrilled with the amount of people who sign up for our London 2 Paris cycle each year. This year will see our highest number to date, with over 150 cyclists raising important funds for blood cancer patients across the UK. I am full of admiration for Hugh and his wife, Diana, who I will be cycling alongside throughout the four days. To not only be tackling the challenge of cycling nearly 500km across the four days, but to be battling blood cancer at the same time is just astonishing"