The BBC's Rory Cellan-Jones after his treatment at Clatterbridge

BBC’s Rory Cellan-Jones commends Clatterbridge for eye cancer treatment

A BBC presenter has thanked staff at Clatterbridge for their care and professionalism in treating his rare cancerous eye tumour.

Veteran technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones spoke to Radio Clatterbridge following a week’s treatment at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre.

The news reporter told Afternoon Edition presenter Andy Bonner how it was a big shock when he was first diagnosed with choroidal melanoma in 2005.

He has since received simple laser treatment but was recently referred to the Wirral site after doctors thought the tumour may be growing again.

“I can’t stress enough what a wonderful place it is. How warm and friendly the staff are, how dedicated [they are] and how interesting the place is.”

Rory said he was surprised to learn the Cyclotron, which powers the specialist proton beam therapy, had been based in the health park since 1989.

He explained how people come from all over the country for the powerful but accurate treatment because it doesn’t damage surrounding tissues.

His condition is very rare. He told listeners only 500 people are diagnosed each year, nearly half of whom come to Clatterbridge for treatment.

Rory Cellan-Jones (Credit: BBC)
Rory Cellan-Jones (Credit: BBC)

Rory has kept a video diary of his experience to help others in a similar situation.

He told us how he needed a small operation before arriving in Wirral to fit markers in preparation for the treatment.

Rory stayed in a local hotel and quickly developed a sense of camaraderie with other patients who were staying there.

He was given a special face mask to wear during the four short treatment sessions.

“It sounds daunting but the process is not that bad. The treatment at Clatterbridge is painless and not at all invasive.”

Rory Cellan-Jones reports about the 5G mobile phone switch-on (Credit: BBC)
Rory Cellan-Jones reports about the 5G mobile phone switch-on (Credit: BBC)

The experience seems to have been a positive one in the middle of a challenging year for the journalist.

Rory was diagnosed with early-stage Parkinson’s in January and decided to talk openly about the condition when BBC viewers noticed his hand shaking during a live television broadcast.

Whilst doctors can alleviate the symptoms, Parkinson’s leads to slower movements, muscle stiffness and worsening tremors. It remains incurable.

He is hoping research will change that.

Rory told us the Parkinson’s wasn’t a big shock compared to the “frightening” eye tumour diagnosis.

But he added that he doesn’t want either to slow down his career.

“Neither condition is particularly debilitating at the moment so I’m just trying to get on with life and do what I do.”

Rory said he has received a hugely positive response since talking about his conditions.

He has since met other people with the same eye tumour and has learnt about a British start-up which is developing gloves to reduce tremors.

Rory hopes he won’t need to return to Clatterbridge but said his eye condition will continue to be monitored for the rest of his life.

He thanked staff and issued a message to future patients that the treatment seems to be effective and is not painful.