A FORMER patient has set up a new support group for Worcestershire people with head and neck cancer as well as their families.

Tongue cancer survivor Chris Byrne, 61, has organised the group alongside fellow ex-patient John Scott and charity The Swallows Head and Neck Cancer Support Group based in Blackpool.

The first meeting takes place tomorrow (Wednesday, February 13) at The Pear Tree Inn, in Smite Lane, Worcester, from 7pm to 9pm, and then at the same time and location on the second Wednesday of each month.

Mr Byrne, 61, from Bewdley, decided more support was needed for patients after his own experience. He said: “Last year I went to my dentist about a mouth ulcer that I was unhappy about and this was soon confirmed as tongue cancer by the head and neck team at Worcestershire Royal.

“My operation in March to remove part of my tongue and neck lymph nodes nearly didn’t happen until a bed became free in intensive care. I had complicated surgery which took 10-and-a-half hours.

“In my case it was clear there was also a gap in care after patients had completed their surgery when they were sent home.

“We have worked with the speciality nurse team at the head and neck team at Worcestershire Royal to improve support available to new and previous patients and their families.”

Head and neck cancer is the fourth most common type of cancer affecting men in the UK.

The Swallows charity is working with 22 hospitals to create a growing network of support groups, and Worcestershire Royal will now be able to refer patients to the Worcester group.