Firefighter, 41, needed life-saving operation after he struggled to swallow

A fit and healthy firefighter was diagnosed with aggressive throat cancer after he told his doctor he was having difficulty swallowing.

Shane, 41, has now undergone a life-saving operation to remove the tumour at Royal Stoke University Hospital.

The dad-of-four sought medical help after he swallowed some food and felt it end up lodged in what he thought was his chest.

He went to his doctor and was booked in for an endoscopy, which revealed he had oesophageal cancer.

Oesophago-gastric surgeon Oliver Priest then removed the tumour in an eight-hour operation.

Shane’s story was shown on the first episode of the new series of of 999: Critical Condition, which takes a behind the scenes look at the snap decisions and incredible efforts made by the team at Royal Stoke.

He told the cameras: “One night I was just eating my tea and then for some reason I found swallowing a struggle.

“I took a bite of food, swallowed it and it seemed as if like it got stuck in my chest. So, I went to my doctor and they sent me for an endoscopy and they found cancer in my oesophagus.

“I was only 41 when I got diagnosed, it was a shock because you don’t think of things like this happening to you.

“Especially me, I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I keep fit and healthy, I only eat organic food and I go to the gym five times a week.

“You know, it was hard to take. I’ve got four young kids and it has been quite hard.

“I’m nervous, but it’s the best chance I’ve got of survival.”

It was revealed at the end of the episode that the operation was successful in removing the cancer. Four days later he started rehab with the physio team.

Speaking after the surgery, Shane added: “It’s overwhelming and it’s amazing what the surgeons can do these days because if you had something like this years and years ago you wouldn’t survive it.

“So to do what he’s done, has given my life back.”