Father Steve Cutter, of Peterlee, Co. Durham, may have just months to live due to his inoperable peritoneal cancer, which was only discovered in the theater when doctors were performing corrective surgery on another form of the disease
Image: Steve Cutter)
A surgeon held his head in his hands and said “I’m so sorry” to a cancer patient after he was forced to abandon life-saving surgery.
Father Steve Cutter, of Peterlee, Co. Durham, may have just months to live due to his inoperable peritoneal cancer, which was only discovered in the theater when doctors were performing corrective surgery on another form of the disease.
The 68-year-old had previously recovered from colon cancer but was back on the operating table in January – just over a year after the all-clear.
Although one of the largest stage 4 malignant tumors doctors had ever seen was removed in November 2020, followed by successful chemotherapy, the cancer had returned.
Retired community worker Steve was called to a meeting at the hospital on Christmas Eve last year to say the biopsy results had confirmed this.
But the returning cancer was operable and he went under the knife less than three weeks later, on Jan. 10, 2022.
Steve remembers feeling strange when he came to.
It didn’t hurt him and he hadn’t been given any painkillers – instead he was presented with a series of forms.
The surgeon asked how he was feeling.
“When he asked about it, I knew something was wrong,” Steve told The Mirror.
“My words to him were, ‘What did you find?’
“He just put his head in his hands and said, ‘I’m so sorry. We couldn’t perform the operation.”
The surgeon went on to explain that the cancer was a very small tumor and was contained.
He had noticed lesions and discoloration during the surgery and he and his team agreed it was probably peritoneal cancer.
Biopsies were taken and the results came back on January 20th, confirming her suspicions.
Steve was told there are only two units in the UK that specialize in removing peritoneal cancer, including the Christie Colorectal and Peritoneal Oncology Center in Manchester.
In February, however, the department said Steve’s cancer was “absurd of any surgery.”
Cancer of this type is rare and often not discovered until it is too late.
Doctors told Steve that the scans he had had for 14 months all pointed to his colon cancer, thus uncovering the hidden killer.
He is now undergoing another “absolutely horrible” chemotherapy regimen to kill the remaining colon cancer and hopefully stop the peritoneal cancer from spreading to his organs.
“It was hovering over my liver,” he explained.
“Once it’s in the organs, it’s going to be on the wrong track.”
He said he often berates his wife and children — two daughters and a son — for calling “Dr. Google,” but he admits he wanted to know how long he could live for her sake.
“If you’re lucky, you would survive the chemotherapy for six months or maybe two years,” he explained.
“The maximum is five years, so if I’m really lucky, 2026 is the end date.”
He continued: “All cancers are fatal, but this one is really bad. I literally have a time bomb.
“Every day I just wake up and thank everyone, if anyone is up there, for letting me wake up the next day.”
The selfless family man – caretaker of his wife, who was reported blind – has already prepared everything for his death.
He has arranged for his private pension to be transferred to his wife and has contacted a funeral home to set up a plan.
One of his daughters was also brought up to speed on financial matters, including the home, to relieve his wife.
“Obviously, bereavement isn’t good for anyone at the best of times, but given the circumstances, I thought I’d make it all right,” he said.
Steve said things got very difficult at times during the pandemic as he had to shield himself from his treatment and struggled to contain his emotions.
He said he wanted to apologize to his wife.
“Sometimes tempers can flare up a little bit because obviously every five seconds this bombshell goes off in my head and I know I’m getting irritable, I know I’m in a bad mood,” he said.
“I’m not. I’m just trying to pull myself together not to make life even more difficult for my wife.”
Regarding the illness and the prospect of his own death, he said: “I can just sit and reality hits me and it’s like a tsunami. Nobody wants to die.”
Steve was originally diagnosed with cancer in October 2020 after taking a free NHS test which came through the door, although he had no symptoms.
His tumor was so high up that any discharge was dissolved before it left the colon.
He encouraged anyone his age not to just throw the tests away.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/man-told-just-months-left-26614045 The man said he had just months to live after doctors found rare cancer during surgery