Man’s cancer diagnosis after doctors said it was acid reflux

Dad-of-two Ricky Evans first went to his GP surgery “eight or nine months ago” complaining of dizzy spells and burning chest pains.

He was told it was acid reflux, then anxiety and depression – but, he told Newsquest he’d felt doctors hadn’t found the real problem.

Now Mr Evans, from Caerwent, is facing having to undergo chemotherapy and radiotherapy after “throbbing” lumps appeared on his neck, and he was finally diagnosed with stage-three lymphoma.

The HGV driver, whose partner gave birth to their second child around the time of his diagnosis, said he spent months taking tablets for acid reflux and anxiety because doctors “kept palming me off”.

“It’s made me angry more than upset,” he said. “They kept turning me away.”

Aneurin Bevan University Health Board has apologised for Mr Evans’ experience and urged him to share his concerns with them.

Mr Evans’ frustrations were capped earlier this month when, after his cancer was confirmed, a doctor said the burning chest pains he had experienced when he first went to his GP surgery, nine months ago, were caused by his “lymph nodes pushing on his oesophagus”.

His stage-three cancer diagnosis meant the illness “had been happening for quite a long time”, Mr Evans said. “It wasn’t at all like acid reflux.” 

When he first attended the Vauxhall Surgery, in Chepstow, complaining of those pains and “dizzy spells” he was given acid reflux medication, but he soon returned to say the treatment hadn’t worked.

Mr Evans, 32, said he was given more medication for acid reflux, then when things “got a lot worse” and he “unusually” felt fatigued, doctors said it was anxiety, and later depression.

“I knew something was wrong with me, and it wasn’t what they were saying,” he said. “Nobody was listening to me.”

Mr Evans, who has a five-year-old and a newborn, said he was told in January the appearance of “lumps” on his neck was “probably an infection”.

Again, he went back to the surgery, and it wasn’t until the lumps were “throbbing and quite painful” that “they took it seriously”, he alleged.

While waiting for a biopsy, Mr Evans felt seriously unwell and paramedics took him to hospital, where he was given the results and his cancer diagnosis.

A spokesman for Aneurin Bevan University Health Board said: “We’re very sorry that Mr Evans is unhappy with the care that he received and send our best wishes to him during his treatment.

“We would urge Mr Evans to contact us directly so that we can discuss the treatment received and any concerns regarding our services.”

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