Rangers legend Andy Goram has been given just six months to live after he was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer.
The ex-goalkeeper became unwell around seven weeks ago and ignored the symptoms as he thought he was suffering from heartburn.
He was unable to secure a face-to-face appointment with his GP but was then admitted to hospital after the pain became unbearable.
The Scotland star was diagnosed with Level 4 oesophageal cancer. The illness has spread to his liver, right lung, three vertebrae and ribs.
Goram shed four stone during this period as he struggled to eat and drink through the pain.
He also knocked back chemotherapy after being warned that the treatment would give him an extra 12 weeks.
The nine-in-a-row hero said: “I’ll fight like I’ve never fought before.”
What is oesophageal cancer?
NHS Scotland described oesophageal cancer as an illness that affects the oesophagus (gullet) – which is the long tube that carries food from the throat to the stomach.
It is said to mainly affect people in their 60s and 70s and is more common in men than women.
The exact cause of the condition is unknown, but the NHS website says increased risk of oesophageal cancer is linked to a patient’s lifestyle.
This includes persistent gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD), smoking, drinking too much alcohol over a long period of time, being overweight or obese, or having an unhealthy diet that is low in fruit and vegetables.
What were the signs that Andy Goram experienced?
The Ibrox legend said he was struggling to eat or drink and initially felt like he was suffering from heartburn.
Speaking to the Daily Record, he said: “I thought I had severe indigestion. It was as though my gullet was blocked. After a few weeks, it got worse and nothing was getting through.
“Everything I ate or drank didn’t get halfway to my stomach and I threw it back up.
“I couldn’t get a face-to-face with my GP for two weeks, by which time I was in total agony, I’d also lost 4st in four weeks.”
Goram was later diagnosed with level four oesophageal cancer, which has spread to his liver, right lung, three vertebrae and ribs.
Symptoms of oesophageal cancer
NHS Scotland says that the illness doesn’t usually cause any symptoms in the early stages when the tumor is small.
As the tumor grows, the symptoms begin to develop.
- Difficulty swallowing
- Persistent indigestion or heartburn
- Bringing up food soon after eating
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
- Pain or discomfort in your upper tummy, chest or back
Scots should seek help from a GP if they have any swallowing difficulties, heartburn on most days for three weeks or more and when they have any other unusual or persistent symptoms.
The NHS website adds: “The symptoms can be caused by several conditions and in many cases won’t be caused by cancer – but it’s a good idea to get them checked out.
“If your GP thinks you need to have some test, they can refer you to a hospital specialist.”
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.