Cancer diagnosis shocks dad who doctors said had acid reflux

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A man who was diagnosed with cancer said his symptoms were misdiagnosed for months as acid reflux and depression. HGV driver Ricky Evans began experiencing extreme fatigue and chest pain eight months ago. After heading to the doctors to get checked over, he said he was told it was acid reflux and he was sent away with omeprazole – a medication used to treat the illness. But Ricky, 32, continued to experience the pain which led him back to his GP.

He was given stronger medication for acid reflux before his GP suggested he could be suffering from depression.

Ricky said: “I am usually a very active person but I started feeling really tired all of the time,” the dad-of-two said. “I would come home from work and feel really fatigued and was having to go for a nap. I started to get pains in the centre of my chest which felt like pressure but I didn’t really think it was anything to worry about.”

The dad of two said he was given antidepressants on his next trip to the GP but only took one because he didn’t think he needed them. And it was in January that lumps began to appear on his neck. However, Ricky claims he was fobbed off by doctors again who said it was just swollen glands.

“I went to the doctors and they said it could be acid reflux, I didn’t think it felt like that but they gave me omeprazole for it which I took,” Ricky, from Caerwent, Wales, recalled. “A few weeks later I was still feeling the chest pain so went back to the doctors and they gave me lansoprazole which is meant to be stronger.

“It didn’t do anything and I still didn’t feel right but they had told me to just keep taking it and it will eventually help. The fatigue was still bad and I could still feel the pressure so I went back to the doctors again and they said could it be stress. I said my life was good, I have a good job, I didn’t have anything to be stressed about and I didn’t feel worried about anything.

“But they gave me some antidepressants, I only took one because it didn’t feel necessary, I was fine. I felt so useless, no one was listening to me.” He added: “In January I started to get lumps in my neck and I went back to the doctors again but they said it could be swollen glands from an infection.”

By February, Ricky had six lumps on his neck. They took bloods but they all came back fine,” he said. “About three weeks later the lumps were still there, I had six in total but two very prominent ones beneath my jaw. At that point the doctor said lets do a biopsy to be on the safe side.”

But while waiting for the results Ricky took a “funny turn” at home and had to call an ambulance and paramedics took him to A&E. Medics at Royal Gwent Hospital rushed through his biopsy and on March 14 Ricky was diagnosed with stage three lymphoma. A CT revealed he had further lumps in his abdomen, in front and behind his spleen.

“I was in hospital for three days, the consultant told me he thought it could by lymphoma,” Ricky said. “They rushed through my biopsy so they could confirm the diagnosis. By this point I had it in my mind I had cancer. My family were so upset and worried, but I was just relieved to get a diagnosis after such a long time.”

Ricky, who has been told his cancer is classed as low risk but he might need both chemotherapy and radiotherapy, added: “It felt good to get answers and that someone was listening to me after all that time.”

While waiting to find out the next steps, Ricky has urged other people to listen to their bodies and push doctors for test. “Don’t get palmed off, listen to your body,” he said. “You can feel stupid trying to tell a medical professional something isn’t right but only you know your own body.”

A spokesman for Aneurin Bevan University Health Board said: “We’re very sorry that Mr Evans is unhappy with the care that he received and send our best wishes to him during his treatment. We would urge Mr Evans to contact us directly so that we can discuss the treatment received and any concerns regarding our services.”

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