Colon Cancer Symptoms: A fit and healthy father diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer is showing early warning signs
A formerly fit and healthy father who was diagnosed with stage four cancer has shared an update as he continues to seek treatment for his condition.
Geoffrey Seymour, 41, revealed last year how he looked like the ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ after a terrible reaction to chemotherapy left him too embarrassed to go to his young son’s cricket games. He now hopes to save his life with a breakthrough vaccine.
Geoffrey, a procurement specialist, enjoyed playing tennis, basketball and cricket and had always been healthy until shortly before his 41st birthday when he began to notice blood in his stools.
He knew from TV commercials that this was a symptom of cancer, so he quickly went to his GP.
Geoffrey, who lives in Richmond, London with his wife Santa, 44, and their son Marco, 10, has been diagnosed with stage four colon cancer that had spread from his colon to his liver – a situation that is so serious and seemingly hopeless, as he likened it to “being wrapped in a burning paper bag.”
He also had a bad reaction to chemotherapy, resulting in severe blisters on the skin on his face and making him look like Freddy Krueger from the 1984 horror film, according to Geoffrey. Nightmare on Elm Street.
However, the chemotherapy was no longer working, and in an attempt to save his life, Geoffrey traveled to Germany for dendritic cell therapy – where a personalized vaccine is being made in a lab with the aim of stimulating the immune system.
According to Cancer Research UK, research is still at an early stage in this area and so the treatment hasn’t been cheap – just one injection in Germany on October 17 cost £17,000 and Geoffrey is now waiting to see if it’s enough to help him while he continues to raise funds to pay for it.
He said, “I couldn’t even wait until the end of the fundraiser to finish it just because I’m so worried the disease would spread.”
Geoffrey was determined to find a new approach after three sessions of five doses of chemotherapy didn’t work, leaving him with side effects so bad he didn’t want to go out in public, even to see his little boy play cricket
“I had a really bad reaction on my face, it was full of painful blisters that made my face feel like it was on fire,” he said.
“I just got to the point where I looked a little bit like Nightmare on Elm Street. If I didn’t go there with a bag on my head, other people would come up to me and look at me and be like, “What’s wrong with this guy?” when I’m quite happy to blend in with the crowd.”
Geoffrey’s ordeal began in April 2021, just two weeks before his 41st birthday on March 4, when he received the first warning signs of cancer.
After discovering blood in his stool, Geoffrey decided to see his GP knowing it could be a symptom of cancer. And in late March, he was diagnosed at Kingston Hospital with stage IV colon cancer that had metastasized to the liver.
After being diagnosed in March 2021, he had five cycles of chemotherapy every three weeks, which initially reduced the lesions in his liver. At this point, he says he was “optimistic.”
In December 2021, he underwent a third of his liver surgery and the medical team began preparing him for radiation therapy to be used on his colon – he even got radiomarkers tattooed for laser alignment.
A month later, a scan showed more tumors in his liver, so he had another round of chemotherapy. This time it was a success and the liver surgery was booked for June 2022.
But just as things were improving, a few weeks before the surgery, a scan showed the disease was progressing. Geoffrey was put back on chemotherapy with a different drug and the surgery was called off.
After just two cycles, blood tests and a scan again showed disease progression, while side effects became unbearable for Geoffrey.
He said: “The side effects have only gotten worse and now the chemotherapy just isn’t helping anymore, the body has gotten used to it.”
He explained why he reacted poorly to a chemotherapy drug: “Essentially it kills all of your fast-growing cells, including your cancer cells, but also your hair and nails. I had a really bad reaction to it on my face.
Determined to find an alternative, Geoffrey began his own research by researching online and found dendritic cell therapy, only to learn it would not be available to him in the UK.
He decided to fly to a lab in Ulm, Germany, for the week-long treatment on October 17, 2022. Friends and family gathered to contribute to his ‘Go Fund Me’ appeal which raised over £14,000 and helped pay for the £17,000 injection.
“I’m still in pain, I’m in a lot of pain, and I’m trying to find a good balance with very strong medication,” he said in November.
On March 6, 2023, Geoffrey shared an update on his fundraising page.
“Today I am trying hard to catch up and get back to a good place after what has certainly been a challenging time,” he wrote.
“Every movement has become an effort as I continue on my path to health and recovery. I last wrote that I wanted to go for a sigmoidoscopy to confirm what the actual problems were. Unfortunately the problems were obstruction as my colon was inflamed from the primary tumor.
“This meant I had to be transferred to St. Marks A&E to have an ostomy bag fitted. I was promised immediate relief and got immediate relief from the blockage, but it was temporary relief as I found myself back in an emergency room after being discharged and not feeling great. After wasting a few days in Kingston, I went home but with the knowledge that recovering from a ostomy bag is actually a long and arduous journey filled with constant adjustments in energy and diet.
He continued: “So this is where I am, it’s a good thing as I can focus on getting stronger so I’ll be in a good place when I go to Germany for my third dose of TACE. I hope with every part of my being that these delays haven’t spoiled the good work the liver is doing, but the reality is that the colon and liver need solutions and treatments at the same time. Usually my wife is an angel and the support I have at home keeps me strong. Take care everyone. See you later.”
Cancer Research UK Specialist Cancer Information Nurse Caroline Geraghty said: “Dendritic cell therapy is a type of vaccine that can treat cancer. Dendritic cells help the immune system recognize and attack abnormal cells, such as cancer cells.
“To make the vaccine, scientists grow dendritic cells alongside cancer cells in the lab. The vaccine then stimulates your immune system to attack the cancer. It is still being researched so the evidence base is not yet strong enough to make it available in the UK.
“Decisions about the best course of treatment must be based on sound evidence of benefit – so it is important that patients speak with their doctor about alternative treatments they may be considering.”
She added: “Thanks to ongoing developments in research, there continue to be many new anticancer drugs showing efficacy in clinical trials and offering potential options for people living with cancer.
“But although regulators have improved the speed at which they are evaluating these for routine NHS use, unfortunately there are still times when certain medicines are not yet readily available to people who could benefit from them. We understand how frustrating that can be.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/bowel-cancer-early-symptoms-treatment-b2300487.html Colon Cancer Symptoms: A fit and healthy father diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer is showing early warning signs