Leading cancer scientist ‘wouldn’t be here’ without ground-breaking radiotherapy

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HIS dad’s life was saved by pioneering cancer treatment in the 1970s.

And Dr John Thomson says his father’s fight against the disease was the inspiration behind his career as a cancer scientist.

Dr John Thomson from the Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre is encouraging people in the city to wear a Cancer Research UK Unity Band with pride on Sunday,

Dr John Thomson from the Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre is encouraging people in the city to wear a Cancer Research UK Unity Band with pride on Sunday,

The 33-year-old says he wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the ground-breaking radiotherapy his dad received.

Dr Thomson’s dad, also John, was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1976, just before his 22nd birthday and only a year after he marrief wife Dorothy.

Now a dad of three himself, Dr Thomson, who lives in Cramond, said: “The fact my dad was given a second chance at such a young age and then able to have children – that I’m here – is amazing. And that’s all down to research.

“That’s why I became a cancer scientist. I was given the opportunity of living because of others who had carried out ground breaking research before me, so I felt like I needed give something back.”

Dr thomson (c) with his parents Jorn (l) and dorothy (r)

Dr thomson (c) with his parents Jorn (l) and dorothy (r)

John Sr lived cancer-free for 33 years before being diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2009. He fought back and was given the all-clear once again following treatment.

But in December 2010 he sadly lost his battle against the disease, after being diagnosed with lung cancer that spread to his brain and his bones.

Of his father’s original diagnosis, Dr Thomson said: “My mum told me that initially the outlook was very bad. It got to the stage they were making early funeral arrangements. But then the doctors sent my dad to the Royal Marsden Hospital in Surrey for radiotherapy – and it worked.

“He went on to have a happy life and he was able to have a family despite being told that the treatment would more than likely have made him infertile.”

Dr John Thomson, 33, from the Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre,* says he wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the ground breaking radiotherapy his dad received in the late 1970

Dr John Thomson, 33, from the Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre,* says he wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the ground breaking radiotherapy his dad received in the late 1970

Paying tribute to his dad, Dr Thomson, from the Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre, said: “My dad was inspirational. He was the anchor point of the family and such a good people person, he always gave good advice.

“He got me through my studies with his calm, supportive personality.”

Now Dr Thomson is supporting World Cancer Day in his dad’s memory and encouraging Scots to wear a Cancer Research UK Unity Band with pride on Sunday, February 4.

Dr Thomson continued: “I know first-hand the devastating impact cancer has on individuals and families. Cancer needs to be stopped.

“That’s why I’m inviting everyone to be part of a movement that can help make a real difference to so many people’s lives. Every day, around 87 people are diagnosed with cancer in Scotland so by wearing a Unity Band, people can show solidarity with those affected by the disease.”

Dr Victoria Steven, Cancer Research UK spokeswoman for Scotland, said: “Making a donation and wearing a Unity Band is a simple, easy way to help fund vital research.

“We need everyone to join together and back our scientists, doctors and nurses who are working on the front line to beat cancer every day. More Unity Bands worn means more research, more treatments and more cures.”

Unity Bands are available in Cancer Research UK shops and on the website.