AN INVERKEITHING man’s decade-long battle with tumours ended with him having a 10lb growth removed by a team of top surgeons.

Kevin O’Neil, 47, was told after nine years of searching that he was one of just 15 people in the WORLD to suffer the rare tumour, caused by a condition called Myopericytoma. 

In a extraordinary 10-hour operation the dad-of-three had 15 surgeons remove the giant tumour from his back last year.

He said: “The surgeons told me they’d never seen a tumour like it. In the space of six weeks it grew from the size of a peach to a dinner plate. 

“It was confirmed that the tumour was a malignant cancer, I should prepare for the worst and that I would be having surgery in three weeks.

“But I knew that I had to live for the sake of my wife and kids.”

Wife Kirsty said: “I was completely in denial that this surgery was potentially life-threatening but we had to have a serious conversation about how Kevin might not be with us at Christmas.

"I had to face the question, what would life be like without him?”

The surgery involved taking out six of Kevin’s ribs, two-thirds of his shoulder blade and moving muscle from his lower back to try to build movement in his shoulder for recovery. This resulted in his chest having to be rebuilt. 

Kevin said: “The pain I suffer now is on a scale of eight out of 10. It feels like my lung is on fire. 

“Consultants have told me that if a tumour ever comes back, my body just won’t be able to cope and the only thing would be palliative care.”

Kevin’s health problems began in 2006 when he was training for a charity cycle from Land’s End to John O’ Groats. 

His pain was so excruciating from his stomach to shoulder that he had to stop. This continued for three months before Kevin visited his GP. 

Kevin said: “Over the course of four years I was diagnosed with a number of conditions including a fatty liver. 

“Those years were spent in and out of A&E but on one trip a doctor decided to take a second look and after CAT and MRI scans, I was finally diagnosed with a paraspinal tumour in 2010.”

Kirsty added: “When we knew what was wrong it was a bittersweet relief because we could finally explain to people what the problem was but the surgery procedure could have left him paralysed.”

And Kevin, a former union organiser, finished: “Men take their health for granted but we must be alert and check our bodies.

“The NHS saved my life and now I live to see my wife and sons and can thank them.”