Late in 2013 Kath Quinn from Bolton, Greater Manchester, found she was suffering from a permanently blocked left nostril. She tried inhalers but it wouldn’t clear so her GP referred her to the ENT department of Royal Bolton Hospital.
The retired teaching assistant had two operations at Bolton as an outpatient and was due to be seen again six months later. In August 2014, however, her left nostril was still blocked. She couldn’t breathe properly and was having difficulty eating and sleeping.
She sought a second opinion from an ENT consultant and she faced another operation in January 2015. After being referred to The Christie, she was diagnosed with a transnasal chondrosarcoma – a tumour in the passage behind her nose.
After a seven-hour operation at Salford Royal mum-of-four Kath, 69, was told she needed further treatment including radiotherapy, however, she contacted meningitis post-operatively and was back in hospital for two weeks.
In November 2015 Kath returned to The Christie and because of where the tumour was situated, proton beam therapy was recommended to try to avoid damage to the optic nerve and pituitary gland. NHS England agreed to fund the treatment in America and in early January 2016 Kath and husband Tony flew to Jacksonville, Florida for the treatment.
The family stayed in an apartment 16 miles from the hospital where she underwent 39 treatments over several weeks.
Kath said: “I was lucky to have the support of my family, we are very close. I never wanted to go to America but the treatment I had there was superb.
Met Bolton patient
“We met another patient from Manchester while we were there and it turned out he lives round the corner from us in Bolton! We have kept in touch after returning home.
“I feel as though it’s been a long road and I’ve lost a lot of weight. My eyes were very sore during the treatment and it was all very stressful but I’m truly grateful for the fresh chance it’s given me.
“If the proton beam therapy had been available in Manchester it would have been less of an upheaval. We could manage going to America because we’re older and our children are grown up but I can’t imagine how difficult it is for families of young children.”
Following MRI scans and blood tests Kath has been told everything looks clear.