Cancer patient’s heartfelt thanks for NHS care

Geoffrey Cousins
Geoffrey Cousins

A Wigan pensioner has praised NHS staff for their “absolutely fantastic” response after undergoing cancer treatment.

Geoffrey Cousins was diagnosed with stage three bowel cancer in November. He has since been receiving treatment from Wigan’s Thomas Linacre Centre and The Christie in Manchester.

I couldn’t fault how cheerful and organised they were. It feels like you’re part of the family because you see them all the time

Geoffrey Cousins

And the 72-year-old dad of two felt compelled to heap praise on the nursing teams at both units, at a time when the NHS is overstretched, understaffed and seemingly at breaking point.

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“I couldn’t get over how quickly everything happened,” he said.

“You always hear about the NHS going downhill, but I couldn’t believe their response.”

Geoffrey first noticed something wasn’t right back in July, after starting to lose blood when going to the toilet, but “stupidly kept putting it off.”

Eventually plucking up the courage to go to the doctors in November, he was quickly sent for blood tests at the Linacare centre. Within a matter of weeks, he was sent for an MRI scan, then more blood tests, and finally a colonoscopy.

Geoffrey, who lives in Whelley with his wife, said it was devastating to hear he had cancer.

“They took me back to the ward, and I knew something was wrong because other people who also had colonoscopies that day were leaving.

“The doctors took me in and told me they’d found a tumour, and it was cancerous.

“It just comes as such a shock. You just think it’s going to happen to somebody else.”

But despite the worrying uncertainty, Geoffrey lauded the positive response from care staff during his initial burst of treatment, which started four days before Christmas and lasted 25 consecutive days.

“The organisation was amazing. I would have a scan at eight in the morning, then blood tests, and I would be out again for nine.

“I can’t praise The Christie, or the Linacre Centre enough. What they do is so thoughtful and their urgency is fantastic - there must have been 300 people waiting on the first day I went to The Christie!”

“I couldn’t fault how cheerful and organised they were. It feels like you’re part of the family because you see them all the time.”

But he also warned others not to put off going to the doctors, as he initially did.

“I was stupid for not going in July. From then until November is a long time. I was diagnosed with stage three, but if I left it longer, it could have been stage four.

“It could have been the difference between them saying ‘we can treat it’ and ‘go home to die.’

“I’ve seen what it’s like with the ambulances at A&E,

Geoffrey is currently waiting to undergo further chemotherapy and radiotherapy, before having surgery to remove his tumour.