POPULAR Royton broadcaster Jack Dearden is using his own fight against throat cancer to champion a vaccine that can prevent others suffering from the disease.
The BBC Radio Manchester presenter is undergoing a six-week course of chemotherapy and radiotherapy at the Christie Hospital after being diagnosed in August.
As he writes in this month’s sports column for the Correspondent, Jack, 67, has been overwhelmed by messages of support from family, friends and thousands of listeners.
His moving video released on social media to reveal his condition has been viewed more than 140,000 times.
Both he and oncologist, Dr Andrew McPartlin, are keen to raise the awareness of his particular form of the disease.
Here is Jack’s plea to our readership and the wider community.
“The type of Cancer I have been diagnosed with is HPV16,” he explained.
“The Teenage Cancer Trust want all boys and men aged between 13 and 24 to get the HPV (human papilloma virus) vaccine.
“This targets they type of cancer I have. Its common description is throat cancer.
“But the vaccine protects against other types of cancer as well: cervical, oral anal and throat cancers.
“The vaccine is available NOW. My advice is get yourself inoculated if you are in the age category to prevent problems in later life.
“This particular strain of virus has the ability to become cancerous. If you are offered the opportunity of the HPV vaccine – take it.”
Jack has been a regular on local airwaves for more years than he cares to remember with rugby league and football the two main sporting passions in his life.
Championing Royton is another pastime for the irrepressible commentator working right upto the time of his first course of treatment.
“I first went to see my GP in April with a lump in my neck,” explained Jack.
“He wasn’t overly concerned and suggested it was an enlarged gland due to re action to infection.
“I went back three to four weeks later and the lump was still prominent. So, he sent me for an ultrasound scan.
“I was then called back to the surgery as the scan had shown ‘some cause for concern.’
“From this point I was then “fast tracked” to see a consultant, who took a biopsy from the lump in my neck.
“The consultant also carried out an examination of my mouth.
“He told me he had discovered a lump on the back of the tongue, and he would take a further biopsy from the area.
“This was carried out under anaesthetic at North Manchester Hospital.
“It transpired the lump in my neck emanated from a cancerous growth or tumour on the tongue.
“I was then referred to The Christie under the care of Dr McPartlin.
“A treatment plan was devised over a six-week period which consists of radiotherapy and chemotherapy: radiotherapy, Monday to Friday for six weeks with two hits of chemo in week one and week four.
“Sadly, following my first chemotherapy blast my kidneys reacted badly resulting in me being admitted to the Christie. At the time of writing I am still here.
“I’ve been told I won’t be having the type of chemo that affected my kidneys. But will have a further blast of a different version.
“Meanwhile, I continue to have radiotherapy, Monday to Friday.”
For more information on HPV please visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/hpv-human-papillomavirus-vaccine/