Man has tumour ‘the size of two babies’ removed after being told it was inoperable

A man had a tumour the “size of two babies” successfully removed and is cancer free despite being told it was inoperable.

Last June Ian Holden was diagnosed with a rare tumour called retroperitoneal sarcoma, which develops from the body’s connective tissues, such as fat, muscle and blood vessels.

The 71-year-old, who lives with his wife in Newark, Nottinghamshire, was told it was inoperable.

He asked for a second opinion and was referred to Dr Dirk Strauss at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, which has a specialist cancer treatment hospital in London. By the time he was seen by Dr Strauss, his tumour had grown to an incredible 7.5kg – roughly 18lbs, Nottingham Live reports.

Dr Strauss said he could operate and remove the tumour, and the procedure was soon carried out successfully. He has had no signs of cancer since.

The story features on the final episode of Channel 4’s ‘Super Surgeons: A Chance of Life’ which airs at 10pm today (August 1).

Mr Holden said: “In my twenties, I was diagnosed with testicular cancer, which left me with lots of long-term side effects. The radiotherapy was much more brutal back then.

When I started feeling unwell a couple of years ago, it took some time to realise there was something really wrong. Before my diagnosis, I had never heard of sarcoma, let alone retroperitoneal sarcoma, which grows deep in the abdomen.

“It doesn’t respond to chemotherapy or radiotherapy and, as mine was so large, my original team thought the tumour was too risky to operate on. When I met Dr Strauss, he said that, although he hadn’t done many operations this big, he thought he could do it.

“While there was risk, I immediately agreed to go ahead. I had thought I was going to die, but now there was hope.

“The operation was a major piece of work. My right kidney and some of my bowel and diaphragm were removed and I was left with nearly 60 stitches.

“My recovery has been OK and, while I’m in some physical pain, this time last year I wasn’t even sure if I’d make Christmas. Instead, I’m alive and I have extra precious time, which I plan to spend much of in my garden while my wife rides horses.”

Dr Strauss is a consultant surgical oncologist and general surgeon in the sarcoma unit and skin unit at The Royal Marsden, where he has worked since 2008. He explains why he wanted to be included within Channel 4’s documentary.

He said: “Sarcomas are rare and both the general public and professionals may often be unfamiliar with the disease. I felt it would be an ideal opportunity to raise awareness of sarcomas and specifically retroperitoneal sarcomas.

“It was furthermore an opportunity to showcase the expertise offered by The Royal Marsden’s sarcoma unit, which I am very proud and grateful to be part of. Watching the patients telling their story and how they experienced the journey was remarkable and made me more aware of their perspective of the whole experience.”