Bladder Cancer Awareness Month – ‘Only for working in the doctor’s surgery and him noticing, the tumours would have grown too deep’
Keith Downey will forever be thankful for the fortunate and timely piece of advice that saw him diagnosed with bladder cancer at a relatively early stage two years ago.
Father-of-three Keith from Templeogue runs his own construction company, and he happened to be building a GP surgery when his very observant client noticed there was something wrong with him.
“The GP, Dr Kevin Fitzgerald in Breamor Family Practice, noticed when I was walking the site every Friday at our site meetings I had my finger in my right side as I had a pain, and it was easier to walk that way,” Keith recalls.
“He suggested I go get a scan which he kindly arranged and I never went, which I regret. I spoke to him again a couple of weeks later and made another appointment to get a scan. That morning I found out I had tumours in my bladder.
“I’m a keen gym-goer and I initially thought the pain in my side was a muscle injury. Only for working in the doctor’s surgery and him noticing, the tumours would have grown too deep and it would have been too late. I can never ever be thankful enough, and to me he has been my life-saver.
As anyone would expect it was a massive shock, especially as I was quite young for that diagnosis at 34.
"I eventually had an operation to remove the tumours.”
Unfortunately Keith’s cancer journey was not to end there, and he has since received the difficult news that the cancer had returned.
Following surgery earlier this month he is currently going through chemotherapy, but in spite of his own challenges Keith is keen to spread a positive message that life can and does go on after a diagnosis.
“People will tell you I'm the most energetic, happy, positive person going. I ran a company, built my own house as well as others, married with three kids. I got through it all and I’m still going. I’ve talked to other patients to try help them through their situation.
“If my story can provide even one person with hope and positivity that anything can be achieved whilst going through illness, it would mean the world to me.
“At the same time, I would say to people that you have to mind yourself – make sure your work and life are well balanced and that you’re paying attention to your own health, especially when it comes to catching the signs of cancer early and seeking help immediately if you notice anything wrong.”
Contact the Irish Cancer Society Support Line
If you have worries or concerns about cancer, you can speak confidentially to an Irish Cancer Society Cancer Nurse through the Freephone Support Line on 1800 200 700.
Monday to Friday, 9.00am - 5.00pm
For more information