A teenager saved her father’s life after he asked him to help her study for her GCSE biology exam when the couple finally discovered a cancerous lump in his neck.
Alice Jenkyn, now 17, had asked her father, Jonathan, to help her study for her exams in May last year.
When she had trouble remembering where her lymph nodes – glands – were, Mr. Jenkyn, 43, showed her by pointing them to his own neck.
But when he did, he noticed a lump the size of a grape that he had never felt before.
He immediately made an appointment with his doctor and within a few weeks the diagnosis of metastatic throat cancer in a tumor was made under his jaw.
The father of five, from Ipswich, Suffolk, soon underwent intensive chemotherapy and radiotherapy for six weeks before he got everything clear.
But doctors warned that if he hadn’t caught the lump so early, he probably wouldn’t have lived to see 2020.
Jonathan Jenkyn and his daughter, Alice, used his neck to show where the glands are when they noticed that one was swollen. It turned out to be a cancer they had noticed
“It was luck of the draw that we had chosen the lymphatic system for that evening, and I am extremely happy to have helped her with her school work that day,” said Mr. Jenkyn.
‘I often help my children with their overhaul and homework, but this was really lucky.
‘Alice is struggling with the science I did pretty well at, but it was pure luck that we happened to be studying something that would lead to the discovery of the lump.
“I demonstrated for her where the lymph nodes are in a body and pointed to mine to show her, while showing her where I could find them, I just felt a lump the size of a grape on my neck that I didn’t noted earlier.
“We had a short discussion about what it might be like at that time and I explained that the lymph nodes could become inflamed for non-urgent reasons, but I promised her I would have it checked and it’s lucky I got it done.
“She also passed her Science GCSE, so clearly the review has helped her and me in many ways, we are very proud of her.”
Alice added, “I did not expect my review to have such an enormous effect on our lives and I feel guilty for not having noticed the lump myself, but I am so glad we found it.
“It is great that he is better and at home, it was really hard to see him so sick and the seriousness hit me very hard when I noticed that I was feeding my father – but it is nothing that he did not believe in the past did me.
“We are just happy that he is fine, and of course that I have passed the science exam.”
Jenkyn had to undergo intensive chemotherapy (photo) and radiotherapy last year to get rid of his cancer
Mr. Jenkyn, pictured with his brother Peter and wife Vicky, was told by doctors that he could have died if he hadn’t noticed the cancer at an early stage
Despite brushing the lump away as a bit of swelling, Mr. Jenkyn made an appointment to see his doctor, who told him to go back when it got bigger.
The lump had grown within a week, prompting the doctors involved to order a biopsy and make the devastating diagnosis.
Mr Jenkyn immediately received an intensive radiotherapy and chemotherapy course throughout the summer.
And last week he got the good news that he was cancer free.
He added: ‘It was really scary, but I got a fairly clear route to get better and tried to stay out of my mind as much as possible.
“I was told that if I hadn’t seen the lump, I wouldn’t have seen the New Year, it’s really crazy that a little overhaul with my daughter became the reason I survived a disease as serious as cancer.
“The radiotherapy team at the Ipswich hospitals was incredible, I was treated like a prince from start to finish, I can’t thank them enough for everything they did for me.”
He said: “I thought it was nothing, maybe just an inflamed lymph node, but I thought it would be best to have it checked.
“I certainly did not expect it to be cancer.”
Mr. Jenkyn, pictured with Alice during a radiotherapy session, said: “I thought it was nothing but thought it would be best to have it checked. I certainly did not expect it to be cancer ‘
“Don’t get me wrong, although I am better, the whole experience has been incredibly difficult, but my family has stayed with me all the time and I am starting to feel normal again.”
After being told that he was better, Mr. Jenkyn has raised funds and so far has raised more than £ 2,000 that will be donated to the radiotherapy department at the Ipswich Hospital to make improvements for future patients.
He added: “I can’t believe how much has been raised, but everyone has been great, we have already raised a huge amount that will continue to grow and will eventually be given to the people who have essentially saved my life.
“I suppose the biggest lesson you can learn from this is to always help your children with the GCSE revision.”