Peter Cosgrave

'I went to the GP with acid reflux... but it was cancer'

Oesopageal Cancer survivor and father of four, Peter Cosgrave went to his doctor complaining of heartburn only to find out that he had Oesophageal Cancer – the same illness that he had lost his brother to just five years earlier.

“I was on holidays two years before the diagnosis and something stuck in my throat.

I went to the doctor and was referred for a scope but they put it down to an ulcer I was being treated for. I had a lot of acid reflux. I had four or five scopes done. Eventually after the fifth one I was called in to see a surgeon. I thought I was going to be told everything was fine but he said, I think you need to have your oesophagus removed.

“The pain was horrendous. I got an epidural but when it wore off I was in a lot of pain. You can’t go home until you can swallow and eat food. The surgery pulls your stomach up just underneath your throat so it’s one third the size it was. I can’t eat a three-course meal now because my stomach can’t hold it. I love my grub but if I eat too much I feel nauseous.”

“With my brother they presumed it was an ulcer too. He was two years fighting Oesophageal Cancer. He went through chemotherapy, had his oesophagus removed but he couldn’t fight it any longer. They didn’t catch it in time.”

“I would say if you’re using a lot of antacids for heartburn you should get a scope done.” Peter advised.

“It’s bittersweet for me – I’m glad I’m still here for my wife Joan, my kids and my grandchildren but I’m sorry my brother’s illness wasn’t caught in time.”

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