An open water swimmer who was given months to live after being diagnosed with a rare cancer has defied the odds and has a new lease on life.
David Scott, from Shotley Bridge, in County Durham, had been training to swim the English Channel when he began suffering exhaustion, breathing difficulties and extreme anaemia.
Tests revealed the 48-year-old businessman had a 14cm tumour in his stomach and he was diagnosed with neuroendocrine carcinoma, a very rare aggressive form of cancer.
Given months to live, he started treatment and has defied expectations after undergoing chemotherapy.
However, although he currently has no cancer cells in his body, he has been told it could return at any time.
Mr Scott said: “I was absolutely devastated as I was told initially that surgery was not an option and chemotherapy, which they started straight away, would only extend my life that could be as short as six months.
“It’s been a brutal roller coaster experience, meeting with the funeral director to discuss my own funeral, whilst struggling to get my head around the enormity of it all and having to close a successful business and let all my staff go.
“And then followed by the elation of responding so well to treatment but knowing the cancer could return at any time and the impact that’s having on my family.
“It’s hard to plan but my wife, Lynne, who is a major trauma lead nurse at the RVI, and I are determined to stay active."
Describing his oncologist and the team as "fabulous", he added: "I responded very well to chemotherapy with the tumour disappearing quickly so they elected to offer me a complete gastrectomy – removal of my stomach and large intestine - at the RVI."
Mr Scott underwent six further rounds of intensive chemotherapy at the Freeman Hospital from August to November, 2022.
However, this type of cancer is so rare the oncologist has not been able to offer any accurate reading on Mr Scott’s prognosis as it could return at any time.
Mr Scott recently travelled to Africa and went on a safari where he met up with a friend. He also has trips planned for the Balearics, Japan and Australia in the weeks and months ahead.
While he has not been able to do his planned Channel swim, he has inspired others to take part in a Channel Challenge at Consett Leisure Centre.
More than 45 swimmers took part in the 22-mile event, raising more than £6,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support and Willowburn Hospice.
Swimmers aged between six and 70 took part in the challenge, covering a combined 100 miles across six lanes from 9am to 5pm.
Mr Scott said: “The support including psychological as well as physical from my oncology team, the Macmillan Joining The Dots free service in County Durham and Willowburn Hospice which offers free counselling has been invaluable to me and my family.
“I’m definitely looking to the future, I’ve started a professional qualification that will enhance my career, and I’m planning to travel and have some incredible experiences.
“Although I am by no means out of the woods, as the cancer could return at any time, currently scans show I have no detectable live cancer cells.”
Macmillan Joining the Dots has supported the couple since October 2022 with various aspects from referral to welfare rights for financial guidance following diagnosis, to liaising with clinical teams to provide ongoing support.
Claire Welsh, Macmillan Joining The Dots Coordinator said: “I’m really pleased to continue to support this lovely couple, and whilst it’s my job, I feel grateful that they trust me to be there for them.”
If you need information, support or just someone to talk to MacMillan can be contacted via their helpline 0808 808 00 00 and there is further support on their website.
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