Window cleaner's chance chat with customer led to life-saving procedure on 'inoperable' tumour: Derek Roberts was having a conversation while up the ladder at the home of James Arthur when the topic turned to a rare form of cancer Derek had A chance chat with a customer saved a window cleaner’s life.
Derek Roberts was up his ladder at the home of James Arthur when they got talking. The 54-year-old from Boothstown, Salford, had been told by several doctors that a very rare type of cancer growing in his abdomen was inoperable. But while cleaning windows at Mr Arthur’s home in Boothstown he told him of the tumour. Mr Arthur is a consultant surgeon at Aintree University Hospital in Liverpool, and suggested he get a second opinion there. Surgical teams at the hospital specialise in removal of tumours which are very complex to operate on, and they perform about ten operations a year.
|Aintree University Hospital, Liverpool.|
Derek went for a check up at Aintree and it resulted in a team led by consultant hepatobiliary surgeon, Mr Hassan Malik, successfully removing a 7kg gastrointetinal tumour, which was the size of a football. After a 10-hour operation, the team had successfully removed the tumour, along with parts of Derek’s liver, stomach and spleen.
Derek, who has been cleaning windows for more than 15 years, said: “I’d been told that nothing could be done, so who would have thought a chat while I was cleaning windows would lead to this? “I’ve been cleaning Mr Arthur’s windows for about six years but this was the first time I’ve shared any health concerns with him, and I’m so glad I did. “The whole team at Aintree was excellent and I can’t thank them enough – they have saved my life.”
|Derek Roberts with James Arthur, Consultant surgeon (left) and Hassan Malik (right) consultant hepatobiliary surgeon, outside Aintree University Hospital.|
Mr Arthur said: “I was around when Derek turned up to clean the windows and we had a bit of a chat, which turned to his health situation. I suggested a second opinion from my clinical colleagues. It’s a complicated condition to operate on but luckily Derek met the criteria.”
Since his operation just over 12 months ago, Derek has held a number of fundraising events, including some at his local pub, the Greyhound in Boothstown, and he recently handed over a cheque for £3,000 to the hospital’s hepatobiliary fund.
|Derek Roberts (left) with James Arthur consultant surgeon (right) and Hassan Malik consultant hepatobiliary surgeon (centre).|
Mr Malik said: “These are rare tumours, which are complex to manage and challenging to operate on, particularly when they are so advanced. We had to remove the tumour and parts of Derek’s stomach, liver and spleen, but the operation went smoothly.
“Even as one of the country’s leading centres, we still only carry out a very small number of these operations each year. Derek was certainly very fortunate and we wish him all the best with his continued recovery. We are extremely grateful for his fundraising work, which will support the treatment of patients in a similar condition on our wards.”
|An x-ray showing Derek Roberts' seven kg tumour.|