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Written by a patient
30th August 2017

One year on from my diagnosis of stage three oesophageal cancer, and almost eight months since I underwent major surgery to remove my tumour, I feel I have a good perspective of the care I received on the NHS, at the Royal Surrey County Hospital, and under the surgical care of Mr Javed Sultan. I rate all three very highly indeed. I was left in no doubt about the seriousness of my condition. From diagnosis in August 2016 I was swiftly further examined to determine whether or not I could be operated on. Fortunately my cancer appear not to have spread and I underwent chemotherapy ahead of an 10-hour operation which was carried out in January 2017. Mr Sultan and his specialist nurse Lizzie Elam took the time to explain all the intricacies of my situation, the implications and possible outcomes. They were thorough and straightforward yet thoughtful and caring. I got all the answers I needed and by the time of my surgery I had complete trust and confidence in Mr Sultan. The operation went very well, I was on my feet (with assistance) in 24 hours and home within seven days. This was the best possible outcome and a great credit to the skills of Mr Sultan and his team. Subsequent laboratory examination (histology) indicated no remaining evidence of cancer in the removed tumour and no evidence of any transfer of cancer through the lymph nodes, a great result and further evidence that the procedures as recommended by Mr Sultan had been correct. I had clearly had a great response to chemotherapy, under the excellent Dr Madeleine Hewish. Mr Sultan stressed the need to be as fit, strong and lean as possible going into surgery and I followed this advice. The fact that I was able to recover swiftly from such major surgery, and without any significant complications, is a testament to the good advice and common sense approach taken by Mr Sultan. One year later and I am still and active, on no painkillers and taking just one lansoprazole a day. Life is much as it was before diagnosis. I have only minor discomforts, mainly around digestive issues following the removal of a part of my oesophagus and upper stomach. But this is a learning exercise and by and large I eat and drink much as before. Throughout this last year, with the support of my wife, family and friends, I have remained positive and determined. This attitude of mind is in no small part down to the confidence I had in Mr Sultan and his team. I think he is first class and I rate him very highly. Stewart Payne

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