Raymond Martin went to a GP after noticing a spot on his face and was given antibiotics after been told that it was an infection. However when the spot began to grow, Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary where a biopsy was conducted and doctors found that he was suffering from a rare form of cancer known as facial angiosarcoma which affects the inner lining of the blood vessels.
He underwent a 12-hour operation where doctors grafted skin from his thigh to replace the portion of the face that had to be removed.
"I knew that the operation had to be done, so I just had to get on with it. I was in hospital for a few weeks and I did feel a bit dubious about how I'd look after the operation as I didn't know what to expect. It was a few weeks before I had a proper look at myself and I did get frightened as it looked like I had a bandage on my face. I was shocked and worried to go out of the house as I didn't know what reaction I'd get from people. It took a few months before I left my home as I would spend a lot of time in my bedroom watching TV", Martin said.
Though doctors were optimistic that they had managed to remove the tumor, the cancer returned and Martin had to undergo a total of six surgeries, including one where doctors reconstructed his nose, while further facial surgery is being planned. Martin revealed that he was told by the doctors that it was fortunate the cancer had grown outside the body as angiosarcoma tumors often grow internally.