A U.K. soldier had to have half of his penis surgically removed after his cancer was misdiagnosed by doctors three times.
Gavin Brooks, 45, of Crewe in Cheshire, has opened up about his heartbreaking story amid his final attempt to get therapy abroad for his condition.
It all started when Brooks noticed a tight ring of skin around his foreskin. He also developed a lesion on the tip of his penis later on. These forced the army warrant officer to visit military doctors three times in 2021 to have his private part checked, Firstpost reported.
He suspected lichen sclerosus, which typically manifests as patchy, discolored, hard skin on the penis. But an army doctor initially told him t was a genital wart.
However, he knew something was wrong when the skin that connected his foreskin to his penis broke and bled, causing him to feel pain whenever he would pee.
When he returned for another checkup weeks later, the same doctor insisted it was a wart. But Brooks was not convinced since he has been married for 20 years and only had one sexual partner.
He returned to the same medical center for the third time and got examined by a different doctor. But he was told it might be thrush and was given a cream.
It was only when he visited a sexual health clinic and was forwarded to a dermatologist who took a biopsy from his penis that he learned he had penile cancer — a rare type of cancer affecting only around 700 men in the U.K. each year.
Following his diagnosis, Brooks underwent surgery to have half of his penis removed. He called the remaining half “Frakenweiner” because it does not look like a normal penis.
“They lifted my penis up, cut it in half, and took a skin graft from my leg to make a penis head, but it is flat with a hole in it,” he said.
Despite the operation, cancer had spread, so he needed another surgery in April to remove lymph nodes in his groin area. He was then subjected to intense chemotherapy in June.
Things did not turn out well for Brooks since his cancer spread to other parts of his body. His doctors have since told him that he only has one year left to live, according to Daily Mail.
He now wishes to go abroad to receive treatment since chemotherapy on the U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS) did not work for him. He is looking at receiving immunotherapy and proton beam therapy abroad to extend his life and spend more time with his family.