Sarcoma Awareness Month – “Life is sweet. Even at my age”

13 Jul 2022

Tony isn’t a stranger to cancer. In 2012, he was first diagnosed with lung cancer which led to surgery to remove parts of his lungs. Sadly this was just the beginning. Over the course of  ten years, Tony would be battling multiple cancers. Not long after his first lung cancer diagnoses (the same year), he was advised that his left abdomen showed sarcoma  cells.

Sarcoma is a rare and complex cancer (malignant tumour) arising from the bone, cartilage or soft tissues such as fat, muscle, connective tissue or blood vessels. Sarcoma can form anywhere in the body at any age and is often hidden deep in the limbs.

Tony is described by his family as a fighter and soldier when it came to receiving treatment for cancer. He has gone through multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiation to help reduce the cancers in his body. Later, still in 2012 , Tony again was advised of another devastating diagnosis of sarcoma cancer of the abdomen which required surgical intervention the same year..  The sarcoma then returned in 2017, only this time, it was wrapped around his right kidney. This separate sarcoma was proving to be a challenge, and yet Tony agreed to have his kidney removed for the best chance of survival. However his struggle with cancer wasn’t over yet. In 2019, Tony was given the news that he had developed prostate cancer and would require further radiation to treat it.

In 2021, the sarcoma had again returned and had attached itself to his left kidney. Sadly, surgical intervention was no longer possible and Tony agreed to have further radiotherapy as a last resort. Unfortunately, his sister had also lost her life in 2010 to sarcoma cancer of the stomach and Tony was informed that there was a genetic predisposition which may affect other family members in the future.

Having sarcoma didn’t affect Tony’s mood day-to-day. His family recalls him being proactive with treatment and maintaining a positive attitude. He was still able to drive and get his morning paper and do all the normal things he usually does before cancer was part of his life. Luckily his mobility wasn’t affected at all. Even in his 80s.

As he was receiving treatment for the different cancers he was battling, Tony was on various types of therapeutic treatment and would often receive infusions of vitamin C to keep up his strength.

Sadly, Tony lost his battle to cancer in February 2022 and his family remembers him saying whilst in palliative care that “Life is sweet. Even at my age!”. They described Tony as a hard worker and an amazing father and grandfather. His family had immense love for Tony and really admired his strength and courage during the last 10 years of his life.

After Tony’s passing, his family organised a donation  to the Foundation in his memory  to support sarcoma cancer research at  Prince of Wales Hospital. His family is  passionate about raising awareness and funds for sarcoma cancer research and they are continuing Tony’s legacy by advocating for further research funding.

On behalf of the Foundation, we thank Tony’s family for their contributions to help make a difference to the many patients in our local community. We also wanted to acknowledge Tony’s strength and courage during his cancer battle.

 

*Image used for visual purposes and to protect patient’s identity.