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Dad Survives Mouth Cancer After Doctor Mistook Symptoms For Dog Hair Allergy

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Dad Survives Mouth Cancer After Doctor Mistook Symptoms For Dog Hair Allergy

A dad has survived mouth cancer after his doctor misdiagnosed his symptoms as a dog hair allergy.

Kevin Parnham, from Derby, UK, initially went to his GP after noticing he had started to clear his throat almost constantly and was suffering from acid reflux.

Kevin was given the all-clear earlier this year. Credit: SWNS
Kevin was given the all-clear earlier this year. Credit: SWNS

The 52-year-old's doctor initially said he was probably allergic to hair from his Boxer dog, Ottis, and prescribed him antihistamines.

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However, his symptoms persisted and he was referred to an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist, who discovered a lump at the back of his tongue.

A biopsy confirmed it was a malign tumour and his treatment took a dramatic shift from antihistamines to gruelling chemotherapy and radiotherapy, following his diagnosis in 2017.

But after walking a long and arduous road, Kevin was given the all-clear in April this year.

Reflecting on how his journey began, Kevin said: "It was around late 2017 when it got noticeably harder to swallow and the possibility of mouth cancer first entered my mind.

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"I didn't have specific knowledge of mouth cancer knew you could get cancer pretty much anywhere in the body.

"I'm not a smoker, and only a light drinker. I didn't think I was doing anything that would cause mouth cancer.

"At the start of the radiotherapy I was driving myself to my sessions and driving back but as time progresses you start to struggle with tiredness and also pain."

The cancer caused numerous complications for Kevin, who picked up an infection and developed thrush in his mouth. He's also had to adapt his tastes and battle anxiety - but he hasn't let it change who he is.

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He said: "After treatment I struggled with swallowing - eating and drinking were really difficult.

"Thankfully, it is now a lot better now and I can once again enjoy Indian food although I don't quite have it as spicy as I used to.

"For quite a time, I started to think in much shorter terms, but as time's going on my mentality is going back to normal. I don't like to be defined by it.

"I've changed jobs now and I don't tell people about it, I'm keen to move on with my life.

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"The only issue I've really had is health anxiety. After having cancer, any aches or pains in your body leave you feeling worried that it is returned, but over time the anxiety gets less."

Kevin has opened up about his experience to raise awareness during November's Mouth Cancer Action Month.


Mouth cancer can appear as a long-lasting mouth ulcer that doesn't go away for three weeks, as well as red or white patches in the mouth, or any lumps and swellings in the head or neck.

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For more information about mouth cancer, including how to do a self-check for the disease, click here.

Featured Image Credit: SWNS

Topics: Interesting, Cancer, Health

Jake Massey
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