Stuart Braysford.jpeg


Pictured: Stuart with family member, Anna Rogers

A grandad and former hospital porter at Burnley General Teaching Hospital is now receiving regular chemotherapy at the site for bowel cancer which has spread to his liver.

Stuart Braysford, 69, who lives in Colne with partner Megan Pickles, worked as a porter at Burnley Hospital for about eight years and finished there in 2001. He worked nights and said he absolutely loved working at the hospital, run by East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust.

The rest of his working life, Stuart worked as a bus and coach driver and says as a result, he has suffered from piles since he was a young man.

Stuart, who has three children and one grandchild, says: “Being a driver, I have always suffered from piles but they were just run-of-the-mill piles and did not cause me any problems.

“Having piles, if I had a showing of blood, it did not really worry me.”

When Stuart began receiving a home kit to test for bowel cancer every two years as part of the NHS bowel cancer screening programme, he made sure he did it every time.

Everything was fine until 2015, when Stuart was told to repeat the test as the results were inconclusive and he was then given an appointment for an endoscopy at Burnley General Teaching Hospital and it was discovered he had three tumours.

Stuart went for scans and they showed the cancer had spread to his liver.

Stuart says: “I was told they could not cure it and it was terminal and was given a prognosis of 18 months to two years.

“I then went on chemotherapy to keep the cancer under control.”

Stuart was on the drug cetuximab for 18 months and with the chemotherapy, the tumours shrank to the point where Stuart was offered surgery.

However, he decided to decline and carry on with chemotherapy instead and has now had 37 cycles of chemotherapy at Burnley General Teaching Hospital.

Stuart is full of admiration for the new Primrose Chemotherapy Suite at Burnley General Teaching Hospital and says the more spacious facilities will be much better for patients and staff.

The new £750,000 chemotherapy and breast care facilities are located in the hospital’s Edith Watson building.

While Stuart welcomes the new unit, he says it is the amazing care provided within it that is the most important thing.

He says: “The old unit was getting a bit tired and cramped but the care was faultless.

“The new surroundings look great and they have done a wonderful job. It is bright and airy with lots of windows to look. 

“It is a far cry from the old unit and will make a big difference to the staff with more space to work in and it will be an all-round better environment for everyone. 

“But it is the care that is superb and I know that will carry on. I have chemotherapy every two weeks at Burnley Hospital for three-and-a-half hours at a time and I have a scan every three months to make sure the cancer is under control.

“Everyone on the chemotherapy unit looks after me really well and if I have any problems, I just have to call them and they will sort it for me.

“The staff at the chemo suite are all lovely and really good with me and we have a laugh and a joke. I could not ask for better care.

“I have coped with chemotherapy really well and knew I just had to be positive and get on with it.

“I have been lucky as I have not had too many side-effects. I have had 37 sessions of chemotherapy and have driven myself home after each treatment as I have been well enough to do so.

“In fact, I am very happy with the treatment I have had from everyone at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust.

“I once went neutropenic which is when your white blood cells go down and you have no immune system and I ended up in isolation at the Royal Blackburn Hospital for seven days and they looked after me really well.

“Then the other week, I became ill with gastroenteritis and was in hospital for four days and the care was excellent.

“I had a scan recently and my oncologist gave me the good news that the tumours had not grown so it shows it pays to stay positive while on chemotherapy.”

Stuart also has some advice for people who spot anything unusual with their bowel habits or bleeding.

“Don’t be embarrassed – you need to get it checked out as it could be something more serious and the earlier it is caught, the better.

“I would also encourage people to take up the bowel cancer screening with the home kits.

“It is easy and no hassle at all and it could save your life.”

Sister Angela Holden, chemotherapy manager, said: “I have known Stuart for a long time as he used to be a porter at the hospital.

“Now our paths have crossed again as he has regular chemotherapy at the unit and he is really friendly and feels like part of the family.

“It is good to hear he has had such a positive experience. I always think it is important to look after patients like they are one of your own or how you would expect someone to look after a member of your own family.”