My heart condition meant surgery for kidney cancer was impossible, but GenesisCare’s advanced cancer treatment means I’m still here!

My heart condition meant surgery for kidney cancer was impossible, but GenesisCare’s advanced cancer treatment means I’m still here!

Stephen was born with a complex congenital heart condition and was not expected to live past 15 years old. In the late 1960’s he underwent pioneering heart surgery at Great Ormond Street Hospital and having survived this condition is now rumoured to be the oldest living survivor of his condition. However, he was dealt a further health blow in November 2022 when he was diagnosed with kidney cancer.

Stephen is 63, lives in Wimborne in Dorset and enjoys an exciting life.  “My first word was ‘car’ and I’ve been obsessed with them ever since. I spent my working life at the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu, where I started as a museum attendant, drove the monorail and went on to look after and develop the film library, which is now a major institution, leading to working on documentaries such as Top Gear and presenting on Men and Motors.”

Now retired, Stephen’s kidney cancer diagnosis came out of the blue and was only detected after he tripped on a kerb, hitting his head on a cast iron bin and bursting an artery causing heavy blood loss. 

It took the hospital 5 hours to stop the bleeding and around 4 weeks to seal the wound properly. I became anaemic due to the amount of blood I lost so was sent for a scan to check me over. That’s when they detected a growth on my right kidney”.

Stephen was seen at his local hospital in Bournemouth, where they discussed surgery to remove the tumour, and a specialist in Southampton suggested injecting and freezing the cancer.  However, due to the complexities of his heart condition and prior surgeries, he was finally told surgery was out of the question as he wouldn’t survive the anaesthetic.

Thankfully, Stephen’s consultant in Southampton referred him to Dr Philip Camilleri at GenesisCare in Oxford, where he was relieved to hear he was a suitable candidate for stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) delivered on the MRIdian MR Linac. 

As a result of my treatment on the MRIdian, I'm still here!



Stephen told us: “Without this treatment option, I had no future! It felt as though all doors were closing. I was so relieved when Dr Camilleri told me if I could lie still for up to 45 minutes while in the machine and hold my breath for 30 seconds at a time, they could deliver targeted radiotherapy. I received just three sessions, and my treatment was complete.”

Stephen continues: “The treatment was very simple. I had to watch two circles on the screen in the machine, one blue and one yellow and hold my breath when the yellow circle was inside the blue one

I’m feeling good and now have regular scans to check how things are. I’m told the tumour hasn’t gone away and is not expected to, but it is inactive, and they’ll keep scanning me every 6 months to ensure it remains that way

Photo by Graham Sapsford

I’ve got a lot of living left to do and if treatment on the MRIdian hadn’t been an option for me, it would have been so disappointing for it all to come to an end due to cancer - after all I’ve gone through. Thanks to my treatment on the MRIdian, I’m still here!

Compared to surgery, it has been shown that stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) delivered on the MRIdian is able to treat cancer effectively without the risk of significant kidney damage or reducing kidney function. To learn more about radiotherapy on the MRIdian for kidney cancer, click here