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Cancer patients

Peter Wright

Cryosurgery for cancer

"I was diagnosed with non small cell lung cancer in August 2006 at the age of 37.  My initial feelings were those of fear and anger.  What had I done that had been so bad in my life that I should be given such an awful disease?

After many tears and much thought and knowing that I had the support of my wife and children behind me, I was, and still am determined not to let this disease take me from my loving family.  


I was sent to have a biopsy to establish what type of cancer I had, when I went back at the hospital to get the results of the biopsy I was told that the tissue that was taken away for analysis was dead, therefore I would have to have a CT guided biopsy this would take two-three weeks to have done and results back. 


Trust patient Peter Wright



Two weeks before I was due to start chemotherapy my breathing became extremely difficult.  I assumed this was the way my lung was dealing with the illness.


When I arrived at the Royal Berkshire Hospital for my first session of chemotherapy, it was requested that I go for a chest X-ray so that they would have a comparison to the condition of the tumour before and after chemotherapy, it was at that point that they realised that my lung had collapsed and that was the reason why my breathing had become so difficult.


Once I had the first session of chemotherapy, the doctors told me that they would like to keep me in to observe my condition and breathing. The consultant that had originally diagnosed my condition arrived on the ward and told me that he wanted me to go down for another CT scan so that he could see what was going on with the tumour, arriving back from the CT scan, the consultant informed me that the tumour was growing at an alarming rate into my trachea.  He was also concerned that it would grow into my good lung before the chemotherapy had a chance to take effect.


Alternative treatment


I was transferred to the Guy’s Hospital in London, hoping that they would be able to insert a stent into the affected lung to open up the airway.  When I started to come round in the recovery room, I learned nothing could be done in theatre as the tumour had grown too big in length to get a stent inserted. I was the transferred back to the Royal Berkshire hospital.


My consultant then explained that he had been in touch with a Mr Maiwand from the Royal Brompton and Harefield hospital who had pioneered a low temperature surgery procedure (cryosurgery).  He explained that Mr Maiwand had seen my CT scans and X-rays, he would be happy to see me but could not promise that he could do anything to help my condition.  




I arrived at Harefield on the following Wednesday in preparation to go down to theatre on the Thursday, Mr Maiwand came to the ward on the Thursday morning to reassure me and told me to relax and not to worry.


I woke up in ICU following the procedure, but was soon transferred to the HDU.  Mr Maiwand came to see me on the ward and explained that he had to be aggressive in surgery as the tumour itself was very aggressive, the result of this caused the tumour to bleed heavily in to my good lung and causing it to collapse. I stayed in Harefield hospital for 4 days during this first procedure due to the complications.


I have had 7 further cryosurgery treatments since the first, each session taking approximately 20 to 30 minutes.  After coming round you tend to cough for a short while, and you may have a sore throat for an hour or so, apart from these side affects the procedure is painless and comfortable. Generally you are up and about within two hours, and allowed home on the same day.


Since the second to third session of cryosurgery, my quality of life has returned to at least 80 per cent to what it was.


I owe my life to Mr Maiwand and his team, and I would like to express my thanks to them all."

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