A man in the U.K. passed away on Dec. 23, 2014, three years to the day after a biopsy revealed he was suffering penile cancer.
Nigel Smith died from the disease, which doctors initially misdiagnosed as a sexually transmitted infection (STI), reports the Daily Mail.
Four years ago, the then 57-year-old went to visit a doctor after he discovered a red lump on his penis.
Smith was referred to a sexual health clinic, where medics told him he was suffering genital warts, and said that his symptoms would eventually go away.
But his condition did not improve, and instead of seeking further help, Smith kept his symptoms a secret from his wife for a year, sleeping in their spare room and saying his snoring was the problem.
Smith finally told his wife of 30 years after a second tumor appeared. In December 2011, he underwent a biopsy, which revealed that he was suffering stage III penile cancer.
According Yahoo7 News, the disease, a slowly growing cancer, is rare and affects men over the age of 60. The chances of survival are around 75 percent, if caught early.
Smith’s daughter, Tammy Partridge-Smith, 38, said her father felt ashamed when doctors told him he had an STI.
“He felt angered, as he had been happily and faithfully married to my mum for more than 30 years,” Partridge-Smith said. “He was told that he had a genital wart and was given medication but it had no effect. I'm convinced that if his symptoms had been taken more seriously from the start his cancer would have been diagnosed much sooner.”
Partridge-Smith underwent a partial penectomy and was in temporary remission for almost two years. However, in September 2014, secondary tumors appeared in his lungs, brain, adrenal glands, liver and spine. After being diagnosed for a second time, Smith promised to complete a bucket list while raising awareness of the disease before he died.
“He always said that he was put on the Earth for a reason and if he could help just one person with penile cancer to get a speedier diagnosis then his job was complete,” Partridge-Smith said. “Unfortunately dad didn't manage to complete his bucket list and died on December 23 last year — only three months from diagnosis of secondary cancer, and three years to the day from his first biopsy.”
Partridge-Smith has since continued her father’s goal to raise awareness by supporting the male cancer charity Orchid.
“There's nothing more that I want to do than keep my Dad's honour and carry on raising awareness,” she said.
Photo Credit: JustGiving, Nigel Smith, Tammy Partridge-Smith/Facebook