Cancer survivor diagnosed with tumour raising funds for alternative treatment
Jay Allen thought he was coming down with tonsillitis when he first noticed a lump in the back of his throat but after it failed to go away, he knew something wasn't right.
When Jay Allen first noticed a lump in his throat he thought it could have been tonsillitis, but when it failed to go away, he knew something wasn't right.
After getting it checked by a doctor, Mr Allen found out he had a squamous cell carcinoma – a common but dangerous type of throat cancer.
"When they found the tumour on my right tonsil it was about as big as a strawberry so I'm very lucky it didn't get into my jaw or elsewhere in my mouth," he told nine.com.au.
But this isn't Mr Allen's first battle with the deadly disease.
In 2008, at the age of 32, he was diagnosed with stage three melanoma and given a 60 per cent chance to live.
"Because of my previous diagnosis I'm really aware of all the lumps and bumps on my skin so because I'm more aware I probably saved my own life by noticing the lump when I did," Mr Allen told nine.com.au.
"But it was still such a shock to get diagnosed for a second time."
After undergoing surgery to remove the lymph nodes in his groin and ankle, Mr Allen was given a second chance at life - which he has since dedicated to raising money for cancer research, earning him the nickname "The Melanoma Man".
Mr Allen said while his history with cancer prepared him for some of the challenges, the debilitating impacts of chemotherapy and radiation therapy have come as a surprise.
"I've got 15 to 20 ulcers in my throat that are basically open wounds," he said.
"You can't eat, the pain is unbearable."
Mr Allen was given the option to have the tumour surgically removed but in doing so he ran the risk of losing his voice, so he opted for chemotherapy.
He has now endured 35 rounds of radiation treatment for the right side of his jaw and mouth as well as two rounds of chemotherapy, causing him to drop more than 10kg in under two months.
"With the melanoma, I didn't have to go through the harsh side effects of radiation or chemo," he said.
"But there's an 80 to 90 per cent chance I'll be cured so I have to run with that."
Despite positive results indicating a reduction in the tumour, Mr Allen said he wants more funding dedicated to finding alternative solutions for cancer sufferers.
"No human should ever have to go through what I've been through," he said.
Mr Allen is now campaigning from his hospital bed to raise funds for research into alternative types of therapy.
As a father of six children - including his youngest daughter, Josie, who was born just three months prior to his diagnosis - Mr Allen said he has something more to keep fighting for.
"What I'm hoping to do is speak with the doctors at the hospital and researchers and work out what they need in terms of funding to develop alternative treatments to make it easier for other people who have to go through it in the future because it's just too harsh."
With support from Tour de Cure, Mr Allen has launched K's To Cure Cancer campaign - a fundraiser to help researchers develop new treatments.
Tour de Cure co-founder, Geoff Coombes, said after the foundation suffered a major blow last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, help is needed now more than ever.
"2020 was a particularly tough year for charities that were event-based but we're really excited that we've been able to run four events in the last four months," he said.
"After last year we all need that all need that positivity and chance to connect."