A DAD-OF-TWO has revealed he had his stomach removed so he could live to see his young daughters grow up and has urged people to back the fight against cancer.
Dan Taylor, 33, of Elvington, was told by doctors that because he carried a rare cancer-causing gene, he had an 80 per cent chance of developing the aggressive stomach cancer that claimed the lives of his two cousins.
After discovering he carried the mutant E-cadherin gene he said he decided to go ahead with the six-hour operation at York Hospital.
His decision was justified, when medics confirmed he did have the early stages of stomach cancer, which can be very difficult to detect and for which he had been given the all-clear.
Mr Taylor is now helping to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support, by taking part in its World’s Biggest Coffee Morning events later this month, and he called on people across York and North Yorkshire to get involved.
Mr Taylor said: “I hope thousands people across York and North Yorkshire will stage and take in the coffee morning on September 27.”
He said his decision to have his stomach removed had not been a difficult one to take, as the survival rates of stomach cancer were not good.
“I have two adorable children and want to see them grow up,” he said. “To go ahead with an operation of that magnitude is a personal choice. One of the great things is the risk has gone and it’s never coming back.
“When I talk to people about it they say it’s really unlucky to have that gene but I feel incredibly fortunate I found out about it and had this treatment before I had to go through something much worse. Rather than a negative thing, I think it’s quite a positive.”
Daughters Abigail, five, and Edith, two, must wait till they are in their mid-teens to learn whether they carry the gene – which they have a 50/50 chance of having, Mr Taylor said.
“We have the stress that one day our kids may go through something like this but that's a long way off and in the way medicine is progressing, it could be something which is resolved without an operation,” he said.
Mr Taylor, who runs the Clifton Moor web design company See Green with his wife Anne, said he made a speedy recovery after the operation in 2011 and 12 days after the operation was even able to enjoy a couple of pints in his local pub and returned to work after six weeks.
The operation was possible as the stomach is mainly used for food storage and is not essential for digestion.
The bottom of the oesophagus is connected to the top of the intestines as part of the procedure and this has reduced the amount of space for food meaning Mr Taylor needs to eat little and often, with lots of high-calorie meals.
“It’s not as different as you might think,” Mr Taylor said, “I enjoy a diet most people would be jealous of and have a lot of biscuits and crisps at my desk. As people get older it affects them in different ways. I’m always pretty optimistic but by my standards the recovery was quicker and easier than I thought and I feel better than I ever thought I would again.”
• Mr Taylor and the See Green team are inviting friends, partners and clients to drop in to Turing House in Marsden Park, Clifton Moor between 9am and 1pm on Friday, September 27, to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support during the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning.