Archive for July 23rd, 2010

AN INSPIRATIONAL young man who was diagnosed with cancer three times in four years has lost his courageous fight with the disease.

Nicky Avery, 28, died in hospital on Monday, July 19.

Former labourer Nicky, who lived in Southchurch, was the youngest man in the country to be diagnosed with breast cancer, and was later told he has liver cancer as well as bone cancer.

In April he fulfilled his dream of marrying the love of his life, Cheryl Perkins, also 28, in a ceremony at Southend Register office.

The one in a thousand risk

Breast cancer is extremely rare in men.

A man’s risk of developing breast cancer in his lifetime is just one in 1,000.

Every year 44,500 women are diagnosed with the disease compared with 300 men.

Of those women 12,000 die, while around 70 of the male sufferers succumb to it.

The symptoms, diagnoses and treatment are all similar to female breast cancer. The most common symptom is a firm, non-painful lump just below the nipple.

As with women, most cases are 60 to 70-year-olds, although it can affect men of any age.

Risk factors include a high oestrogen levels, exposure to radiation and a family history of breast cancer. Overall survival rate is the same as with women.

Mr Avery was diagnosed with cancer in 2006 after a girlfriend convinced him to go to the doctors over a lump in his chest that he had ignored.

A biopsy and scan revealed it to be cancerous. At the time he said: ‘I was quite ignorant of the fact a man could get breast cancer.

‘Doctors at the hospital said, “Mr Avery, you have got cancer”. It was as quick as that. I thought at first they had misdiagnosed me.

‘It seemed totally surreal and still does.’

Like many women sufferers, Mr Avery had a radical mastectomy followed by intensive chemotherapy and radiotherapy. At the time he said: ‘ During my trips to hospital for treatment, I met women who were also being treated for breast cancer and they were really lovely.

‘They were a real inspiration to me because they would go in for treatment and then go home and look after their families.’

Following his gruelling treatment he was told he had beaten the disease in May

2007. But in March last year he was told it had spread. Despite vowing to beat the cancer again, it proved too severe.

Dr Anne Robinson, consultant oncologist at Southend Hospital and breast cancer specialist, treated Mr Avery throughout his illness.

She said she was amazed when she saw him with the disease at age 24. ‘The way he dealt with his illness was inspirational,’ she said.

‘We don’t get many men a year with breast cancer, especially someone his age.

‘There are probably four or five men a year here with breast cancer compared with something like 400 women.

In a tribute to Mr Avery, his brother Joe wrote on the website Facebook: ‘I’m missing u more than anything … sweet dreams big bro n il b seein u sumday n were be side by side again love u nicky, ur my hero.’

His widow added: ‘He’s my hero too and will miss him every min of every day.’

Mr Avery’s close friend Chris Osborne travelled back to the UK from south-east Asia when he heard he was in hospital, and arrived in time to see him the day before he died.

Mr Osborne later paid tribute online in his blog, writing: ‘Nick was a hero to many, as he was always upbeat about battling cancer and still made it his priority to make people laugh and feel good about themselves.

‘He was the least selfish person I knew and also the strongest by far.

‘His big smile and deep laughter will be remembered by hundreds that were lucky to know him.’

SOURCE: echo-news.co.uk

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