Press release posted 1 September 2023
A trainee doctor from Altrincham is celebrating being cancer-free, 5 years after being diagnosed with leukaemia.
Tom Hunt, age 23, was just 18 when he was referred to The Christie to be treated for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL). He had just finished his A-levels and was about to start a gap year.
The rugby and football fan, who is a season ticket holder at Manchester City, keeps fit by visiting the gym 6 days a week. Tom and his partner, Emma, enjoy socialising, finding good coffee shops and walking in the country.
In 2018, Tom had been travelling in Europe for a couple of weeks when he started feeling really unwell. Throughout that summer, he had been getting more tired than usual and had noticed some swollen lymph nodes.
“It got to the point where I found I was sleeping for 15 hours each day”, says Tom. “That was the point when I knew for sure something must be wrong. I was travelling in Europe at the time and decided to fly home early.
“I went to see my GP and was referred initially to Manchester Royal Infirmary, and then 2 days later, they referred me to The Christie. It was all a whirlwind. I was diagnosed on 15 September 2018.
“At first, I felt shocked and felt sad, as everyone does. But very quickly, my mindset changed, and I thought to myself that I needed to get on with it and get the treatment started. I was planning on starting a medical degree at university a year later, so my goal at the time was to be fit again by then.”
Tom’s treatment involved having strong chemotherapy at The Christie for the first month as an inpatient. This was followed by 7 months of further chemotherapy and steroids, going to The Christie an average of 2 or 3 times a week as an outpatient. Finally, Tom needed to take an oral chemotherapy tablet daily for 30 months and other medications periodically.
Thankfully, the treatment worked, and Tom was thrilled to get the news that he was all clear in January 2022. “The Christie and its staff are all incredible, from the top downwards. I can’t fault them. I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere other than The Christie, given my situation.
“The staff all go out of their way to help. For example, one of my consultants, Kaz, stayed late until 7:30pm on a Friday to do my intrathecal to ensure I received my treatment after I had reacted to a platelet transfusion earlier that day. The nurses also stayed late to help me finish treatments or transfusions.”
Tom is now looking forward to finishing his medical degree and starting life as a junior doctor next August. “I’m fit and well again,” he says. “In terms of the gym and weightlifting, I feel the most physically fit I’ve ever been. Life feels like it is back to normal.”