Belfast Telegraph

RTE man opens up over his battle with pancreatic cancer

By Staff Reporter

RTE journalist Tommie Gorman has opened up about his cancer fight and revealed how he considers each year he has lived with it as "a blessing".

Speaking on radio, the RTE News northern editor has been suffering from metastatic pancreas neuroendocrine tumour -a relative of the rare form of carcinoid cancer that he was first diagnosed with in 1994.

"I was based in Brussels at the time and I went in for what was an emergency appendix operation. But they discovered a primary tumour in my mid-gut and lots and lots of tumours on my liver."

Tommie said his form of cancer is not curable.

"The language is different with this one. You often hear from people with cancer that they 'face a challenge' and the challenge is getting an all clear. This is different and the treatment is different. It is a bit like sleeping dogs - when they get angry, you have to calm them again."

Tommie, who had previously chronicled his attempts to halt the spread of the tumours in his body in the documentary Europe, Cancer and Me, said living with the disease has given him perspective.

He is a familiar face with Northern Ireland audiences, fronting RTE's coverage of many of the major news events here for years.

"You live with it. The first thing it does to you is to give you a perspective. I've lived with it for 21 years and I'm still here. I've had a good run. I've lots and lots of tumours and a dodgy liver, so in some respects I consider it a blessing because it makes you conscious of your mortality and makes you very, very grateful. I treasure every moment now."

He said that he has had many treatments since the initial diagnosis.

"I've had surgery and get a monthly injection. I've had my liver scoured and had tumours burnt off. But the great thing is they have gathered new methodology as time goes. Treatments are developing all the time."

Although he was first treated in Sweden, Tommie has been receiving treatment from Dr Dermott O'Toole in St Vincent's University Hospital in Dublin. He describes the medical team as "building something really special for patients".

Belfast Telegraph


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