A GRANDAD has revealed how he was spared major surgery and the need for radiotherapy and chemotherapy after having a cancerous tumour removed from his throat by a revolutionary surgical robot.

Builder Steve Bradbury, from Weir has made such a miraculous recovery following the procedure at the Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital that he was back at work carrying out physical tasks within weeks.

The 66-year-old said he feels 'highly privileged' as he is one of the first head and neck patients to undergo the operation using the robot at the hospital.

Mr Bradbury said: “It was a two part operation. The first operation was to remove my lymph nodes and after recovering from this, I had to go in immediately to have the tumour removed with robotic surgery.

“The procedure only took 25 minutes and medics came over from Germany to see it done.

“I had the tumour and one of my tonsils removed by the robot and everything was a success.

“A few days later, after looking at the scans, Miss Ghazali my surgeon said they just wanted to go back in with the robot to take off some of the scar tissue so they did this.

“With the robot, you can go back in after it has healed, but with chemotherapy and radiotherapy, surrounding tissue is damaged.

“The robot is absolutely marvellous as not only does it do the surgery, it stitches you back up as well.

“Without the robot, they would have had to split my bottom lip to my chin then cut into my jaw to open it up like a book and then split my tongue as the tumour was in such an awkward position.

“Not only was I spared this, but because they managed to remove the tumour entirely, I did not need radiotherapy or chemotherapy.

“The only medication I needed was iron medicine and paracetamol."

East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust is leading the way as not only was it the first trust to install a surgical robot in Lancashire, it is currently the only hospital in the North West that is carrying out head and neck surgery robotically.

Mr Bradbury, who is married to Jean and has a son and a daughter and four grandchildren, said his ordeal began soon after he returned from a holiday in Tenerife last September.

He said: “While I was on holiday, everything was fine but about a fortnight after I returned, I noticed a lump in my neck. I could see it and feel it.

“It wasn’t very big and it didn’t hurt and I just thought it was a swollen gland.”

After seeing his doctor, Mr Bradbury was referred to Royal Blackburn Hospital where a needle biopsy confirmed it was cancer.

Initially, medics told Mr Bradbury they might be able to get rid of the cancer with radiotherapy, but then they discovered it was possible for the tumour to be removed by the hospital’s robot.

Mr Bradbury was introduced to Naseem Ghazali, a consultant in oral and maxillofacial and head and neck oncology and reconstruction surgeon at the trust who is pioneering the use of the robot in head and neck surgery at the trust.

The trust installed the £1.3m Da Vinci robot in the theatres at Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital in June 2015.

Although the robot has been mainly used for removing the prostate gland in prostate cancer cases, the trust is continually expanding the number of procedures carried out using the robot.

Miss Naseem Ghazali said: “Before the robot, in order to access these areas, you would have needed to do radical surgery on the face and split the lip and split the jaw.

“With the robot, you don’t need to do this. Patients have a better experience of surgery, they will have a quicker recovery, their speech will be better and their swallowing functions will be better. Their stay in hospital will also be shorter.”

Miss Ghazali has now done around five head and neck cases using the robot.

Mr Bradbury said: "I feel really privileged to have had this surgery robotically as it meant my recovery was very quick.

“I cannot thank Miss Ghazali and the staff at East Lancashire Hospitals enough for what they did for me. They are all amazing.”