A MAN who discovered he had an incurable cancer four years ago is embarking on a tough physical challenge to highlight the need for a specialist scanner.
Father-of-two Ronny Allan, 58, from Ringwood has been fighting neuroendocrine cancer since 2010. He has undergone seven major and minor operations and has to undergo monthly treatments.
But the defiant former soldier is determined not to let the “silent disease” beat him and since quitting work earlier this month at MoD firm Selex ES, he is devoting his days to raising money and awareness for the pancreatic, liver and neuroendocrine cancer charity PLANETS. He has also become the ambassador of Cancer Research UK for New Forest West.
Mr Allan and his wife Chris will be walking Hadrian's Wall next month, covering 84 miles in six days, trying to raise £3,000.
He also wants people to sign an e-petition calling for more Gallium PET scanners for the UK, which better reveal tumours in the body than other scanners – currently there is just one in London.
Mr Allan's diagnosis was accidentally discovered following a routine visit to the asthma clinic, when he told the nurse he had lost some weight without trying.
The nurse sent him for a blood test, which picked up low haemoglobin levels and Mr Allan was sent to a consultant for iron deficiency anaemia.
Mr Allan said: "It was clear that there was some uncertainty about my condition and the consultant did not expect to see such a healthy person walk into his surgery with anaemia.
"He proceeded to ask me further questions about my health, obviously looking for further clues, and it wasn't until I mentioned that I had type of hot facial flushing that neuroendocrine cancer was suspected.
"This cancer affects about two people per 100,000 and can easily be misdiagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome or similar.
"Nobody really knows how long a person with this cancer will live because of the complexities of the disease and the need for tailored treatment.”
Mr Allan says he used to work to live but now walks to live.
"I have become much healthier since we have been training for the Hadrian's Wall walk. We often walk 10-15 miles each day and it makes a difference.
"The tumours are slow growing and have likely been growing inside me for years, and have now spread widely.
He added: "I send the nurse who referred me to have a blood test a card and a present at Christmas every year, to say I am still here. If she had not sent me for that blood test, I would be dead.
"We need more gallium pet scans in this country, which pick up more of the tumours than many of the conventional scanners.”