Seán O’Keeffe

“I could have just put off the discomfort as indigestion. I was lucky that it was detected early.”

Sean O’Keeffe was driving in his car when he heard the Oesophageal Cancer Fund’s patron Padraig Harrington being interviewed on the radio, speaking about his Dad, who he had lost to Oesophageal Cancer. Sean recognised the symptoms that Padraig was speaking about immediately as the same, seemingly innocuous, symptoms that he himself had written off. He made an appointment with his GP straight away and was sent for tests before being diagnosed with Oesophageal Cancer.

“I had been suffering from a slight pain in my chest — it was very, very mild and just sort of annoying. It was more of a discomfort than a real pain. I heard Pádraig Harrington talk about his father, he mentioned the fact that his father used to take medication for reflux — and that he often had indigestion or reflux.

That really struck a chord with me, because for years, I’d been suffering from the same. Hearing him talk about this, and knowing I had suffered from what appeared to be the same thing, led me to take charge.”

“If I hadn’t heard Padraig that day I might not have done anything for six months, or even a year. I could have just put off the discomfort as indigestion. I was lucky that it was detected early.”

Sean advises “If you’re suffering from reflux or really bad indigestion, go and have it looked at. Just because you have reflux or indigestion, doesn’t necessarily mean that you have Oesophageal Cancer, but it could be an indication that there’s a problem.

You should go to see your doctor and have it looked at; don’t be put off. It’s important to get it early. That’s the reason I survived Oesophageal Cancer and I am really glad I heard Padraig Harrington’s interview that day. Hopefully my story will help someone else to go and get checked”

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