Labour’s Chris Bryant reveals skin cancer treatment

Diagnosis was ‘like being punched in the stomach’, says MP as he displays surgery scar

The Labour MP Chris Bryant has revealed he was recently treated for stage three skin cancer.

Speaking of his experience in a tearful interview with Kay Burley on Sky News, the member for Rhondda showed the camera a heart-shaped, blackened scar on the back of his head where he had undergone a skin graft after the removal of a melanoma.

“I felt cold in my skin for 48 hours,” he said of the time immediately following his diagnosis early this year. “I slept terribly that night and I imagined everything – I was going to be dead by the end of the week, I wasn’t going to make it to Easter.”

His husband, Jared, only spotted the “tiny little mole” after Bryant had his hair cut shorter than usual for a holiday at the end of last year.

“We didn’t really think anything about it,” Bryant said, but in January he decided to have it checked by a GP just in case, and urged other people to do the same.

The GP referred him to a dermatologist, who said frankly what she thought the growth was. “My heart sort of sank at that moment, because I know melanomas are a pretty nasty form of skin cancer. But I was very hopeful because the vast majority of them are at the early stages,” he said.

He had the mole removed at Prince Charles hospital in Merthyr Tydfil five days later.

“I had a plaster on the back of my head so everybody in parliament was saying: ‘Gosh, what’s that Chris?’ It was very obvious when we were going through the division lobbies and so on. Everybody could see it,” he said. “I’d told all my mates in parliament because I was so blase it was all going to be fine.”

When he returned to the dermatologist’s office soon after, he said the test result came as a shock. “She was very simple and straightforward and she said: ‘You have a stage 3B melanoma.’ There are four stages of melanoma. I’m not a medical expert and I knew three was not good.”

He continued: “It feels like being punched in the stomach and I know I’m nobody special. Hundreds and hundreds of people go through this all the time. You know, there’ll be people having this exactly today.”

Bryant said he had been moved by how colleagues in parliament rallied around him. “I know people think politics at the moment is really nasty, but Tory MPs, Lib Dem MPs, Nationalists have been absolutely gorgeous with me.”

He added that he wouldn’t stand for any criticism of the Welsh NHS after his treatment – after which he has a good prognosis. “I tell you now if the prime minister ever says a nasty word about the National Health Service in Wales again,” he said, “I will projectile vomit at her across the chamber.”


Alexandra Heal

The GuardianTramp

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