Man wakes up smelling burnt rubber only to be handed aggressive brain cancer diagnosis
A man has shared how he woke up one morning smelling burnt rubber — only to be handed a diagnosis of ‘aggressive’ brain cancer just days later.
Alex Savage, 34, from The Wirral, was given the devastating news of his illness in April while living in Australia, and returned to the UK shortly afterwards.
He had been a fit and healthy volunteer lifeguard on the country’s famous Bondi Beach before the mysterious symptom led to him coming home for treatment.
Alex had awoken from a nap in April when he noticed the unusual odour around his home, and became convinced the place was on fire — but quickly realised he was the only one who could smell it.
His concerned fiancée then encouraged him to go and see his GP in Sydney, who referred him to an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist. An MRI scan then turned up a large mass on his brain.
It turned out to be a glioblastoma, which are the most common cancerous brain tumour in adults and are fast growing and likely to spread.
His neurologist in Australia spoke highly of Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospital in London, where he has since been undergoing chemotherapy.
Now receiving his eighth cycle of chemotherapy, Alex remarkably says he feels “lucky” as the procedure, which has seen doctors remove around an eighth of his total brain mass so far, appears to be working.
But he concedes that there is however “no guarantee” that the infection won’t return, as the cancer spreads by establishing tendrils inside the brain.
Reflecting on how the diagnosis has changed his life plans, he told The Sun : “I wanted to settle down, marry, have kids but the average life expectancy is 14 months.
“I know some live longer, some survive and I’m responding well to treatment at the moment, but despite everything, I feel lucky.
“The treatment I’m being given is working, but doesn’t for everyone.”
Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospital is a Tessa Jowell Centre of Excellence, an accreditation set up in memory of the late Labour MP which funds excellence and equality in public health services.
It’s run in partnership with the Tessa Jowell Foundation, which was set up by Jess Mills, 41, in her mum’s legacy
Baroness Jowell was diagnosed with a glioblastoma in May 2017 and campaigned for better funding and treatments until her death a year later aged 70.
Praising their efforts, Alex said that the help from the Tessa centre was the “reason he was here” today — as it was so reputable that even his doctors in Australia knew of it.