A Bispham man who thought he was fit and well booked a GP appointment over a minor muscle strain - but it turned out to be a life-threatening tumour.
Steven Hackwood, a 57-year-old civil servant with Her Majesty’s Revenues and Customs in Manchester, has praised Blackpool’s NHS staff for effectively saving his life after having the growth removed.
The married dad, who has been a regular runner and always stayed in shape, says he was shocked when he was found to have the tumour last year.
He had no symptoms and only went to the doctors after believing he had suffered a minor injury while exercising.
But his vital trip to his GP nearly didn’t happen because he contemplated cancelling the appointment.
Steven, of Sheringham Avenue, said: "I was doing some press ups one night on some press up bars that I found and I felt a bit tender for a few days after.
"I booked an appointment with my GP, Dr Waqass Yousaf, a few days later and wasn’t going to go to be honest, as the pain had reduced a bit.
"I’m so glad I did because he sent me to the hospital for a precautionary scan.
"I didn’t really think anything of it but while I was there they scanned my kidney which showed there was a seven to eight centimetre tumour there.
"I was shocked as I had no symptoms of any illness at all and it never even crossed my mind that I might have something like that.
"It’s no exaggeration to say that scan literally saved my life.
"It’s scary to think that if I had left it much longer it may have been too late."
Steven, who is married to Julie and has a son, Jamie, and a stepdaughter, Lydia, was back at home recovering the day after his operation and has now started exercising again.
He is due back at work in two weeks, following the operation in early October last year.
He added: "My GP and the staff at Blackpool Victoria Hospital were fantastic.
"My consultant, Mr Jawed Islam, was amazing and I can’t thank him enough for what he did.
"He told me straight how serious the tumour was, he definitely didn’t skirt around the issue!
"I would describe myself as being as fit as anything, so I would advise anyone who has any unexpected pain to have it checked out."
Mr Islam, a consultant urologist, said: "We performed an operation called laparoscopic radical nephrectomy and I am delighted to see Steven is recovering well."
It isn’t the first time Mr Islam has been singled out for praise for his work. Back in 2016, he won the highly coveted Gazette’s patient award, one of the accolades of the Celebrating Success Awards organised by Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Voted for by the public, the award recognises the gratitude patients feel for excellent - and lifesaving - work carried out at the hospital.
The wife of a patient with major health complications praised Mr Islam for his honesty and for instilling confidence. She was particularly impressed when Mr Islam visited her husband while he was supposed to be enjoying his annual leave.
Another patient described Mr Islam as understanding, approachable and calm during a difficult time.
His care for the whole family was greatly appreciated.