Sunderland dad may lose tongue to throat cancer

Cancer sufferer Ray Rodda pictured with wife Shirley (left) and daughter Emma
Cancer sufferer Ray Rodda pictured with wife Shirley (left) and daughter Emma
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A DAD diagnosed with throat cancer was left devastated after doctors warned they might have to remove his tongue.

What started as a sore throat turned into a nightmare for Ray Rodda.

The 61-year-old visited doctors three times before he was diagnosed with throat cancer in December.

The former Sunderland Echo graphic designer, of Silksworth, was told the cancerous lump in his tongue was so big, surgeons would need to remove a third of the organ to clear him of the cancer.

They then discovered they would need to remove his whole tongue as the cancer had progressed to the lymph nodes and both sides of his throat were severely swollen.

The dad-of-three, married to Shirley Rodda, 52, a special educational needs teacher at Portland School, decided to undergo chemotherapy and radiotherapy to try to cure it.

After having intensive treatment at the Northern Centre for Cancer (NCCC), based at the Freeman Hospital, Newcastle, Ray is now waiting to find out whether the cancer has gone.

“I suspected it might be cancer, but it did still take me by surprise,” he said.

“My wife and daughter were at the hospital with me when I found out it was cancer.

“They broke down, which made me break down. Now we’ve just got to wait and see. I might have to go into surgery to have the rest of the lump removed.”

Daughter Emma Rodda, 23, an arrears administrator for the Housing Association, said the diagnosis turned their lives upside down.

She said: “Dad had been complaining of a sore tongue, then this happened all of a sudden.

“When he got to hospital, they rushed him through everything – he must have had it for quite a while before they found it. We’ve been at the NCCC every day for six weeks, it’s like a second home.

“It’s just been absolutely mental. Dad is just starting to get a lot better in himself.”

About three weeks ago, Ray also suffered from pneumonia and had a viral infection on his chest.

Emma said: “My mum was trying to look after him. And in the end, he didn’t know where he was and was confused.

“He has overcome that now but has lost a lot of weight.

“My mum has turned into nurse rather than wife. She has been amazing.”

The family will find out whether treatment has worked in six weeks’ time.

Charity night for facility

Emma is now focusing her efforts on raising money in honour of her dad and other people who have suffered from the disease.

She is organising a charity night at the Durham Marriott Hotel on October 18 in aid of the NCCC’s radiotherapy department.

Emma added: “All the money raised will go to the NCCC and their radiotherapy department in the hope that it will aid someone else in their personal battle against cancer.” Ray added: “What she is doing means a lot to me.’’

The night will include a raffle, bingo, guess the cake and guess the name of the bear. Tickets cost £5, and people can buy them by calling 07909 119 686.

Emma is also appealing for people to donate prizes to the raffle to help raise more money. Anyone who wants to get involved should get in touch using the same number.