Dad Given Just Months To Live Is Now Cancer Free After World-First Operation

A Hull dad-of-two has been given a whole new lease of life after previously only being given months to live due to his stage four cancer spreading to his liver.

Ivan Dragg underwent a 'world's first' operation at the Spire Leeds Hospital in January 2018 which was high-risk and would've seen him only have a six percent chance of survival with chemotherapy.

Ivan Dragg. Credit: SWNS
Ivan Dragg. Credit: SWNS

In 2013 Ivan first started to notice his health was deteriorating, he was suffering with sudden weight loss and constant fatigue, eventually he was diagnosed with bowel cancer.

Despite many operations to remove the tumours and resections the 53-year-old was losing hope and losing his tough battle against the disease.

However, when medics discovered Ivan had grown a new vein in his liver this opened the door to a brand new and previously unknown route to recovery for others who'd suffered similar conditions.

Now Ivan is living a cancer free life after what he called a 'rollercoaster' of journey.

He said: "The last few years have been a rollercoaster. I'm finally feeling positive about my future. I woke up after surgery and Professor Lodge told me he had been able to remove the tumour. That was fantastic to hear.

"Now I'm back at work and looking forward to the future with my family. Nobody knows what's going to happen in the future but I feel very lucky. There could have been a very different outcome."

Ivan underwent an extremely high-risk surgery that was carried out by a Professor called Peter Lodge.

Professor Lodge said: "This is a brand-new liver surgery operation, truly a world-first. During Ivan's three previous operations I had to remove major blood vessels called hepatic veins.

"The new tumour was involving all of the remaining hepatic veins. These major veins drain blood out of the liver and are essential for survival."

Professor Lodge went on to say that he wasn't sure they'd be able to operate on Ivan at all prior to the discovery of the vein.

"I did not think that the situation was operable initially, but I saw that Ivan had grown a new vein in the part of the liver that had regenerated following the previous liver resection operations," He added. "Things went well so we were able to remove the tumour successfully along with the major hepatic veins, leaving Ivan's liver surviving on only the new vein.

Spire Leeds Hospital. Credit: Spire Health
Spire Leeds Hospital. Credit: Spire Health

"If he had not grown a new vein then I would not have been able to do the surgery. This is a new avenue for developing new liver operations.

"There is still a lot we don't know about how the liver regenerates after liver surgery; Ivan's case demonstrates how we must be more imaginative and strive to improve outcomes as much as we can."

"Without surgery, Ivan would have been faced with having only a few months to live.

"I think that chemotherapy may have given him a few extra months but that's all. It's still early days but I'm very pleased with Ivan's progress."

Featured Image Credit: SWNS

Rachael Grealish

Rachael is a NCTJ qualified journalist from West Cumbria, with a passion for news, features and journalism. Outside of work Rachael loves plenty of coffee, running and reading.

Next Up

arrow-down arrow-left arrow-right arrow-up camera clock close comment cursor email facebook-messenger facebook Instagram link new-window phone play share snapchat submit twitter vine whatsapp logoInline safari-pinned-tab Created by potrace 1.11, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2013