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Cancer patient says he’ll stay at home for a year to avoid COVID-19

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Sydney artist Wayne Devenny, 55, might have all but beaten lung cancer. But he’s barely left his house since March because if he caught coronavirus, it could kill him.

Sydney artist Wayne Devenny, 55, might have all but beaten lung cancer.

But he's barely left his house since March because if he caught coronavirus, it could kill him.

And he says he'll stay inside his Northern Beaches home until COVID-19 is no longer a threat, even if it's for another year.

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"I would hate to have done so well with the treatment and then this bloody virus gets me," he said.

"For us to not go out for a year is better than getting something that could literally kill me.

READ MORE: Mum-of-two, 37, with lung cancer demands action over deadly disease

"I went out once to the supermarket and I saw a guy put his hands on the rails of the escalator and I was like, 'oh no, oh my God'.

"I just came home, and said to my wife: 'I'm not going anywhere'."

"We can treat cancer - not always perfectly – but coronavirus we've got nothing."

Coughed so much he passed out

Mr Devenny lost his voice last year and started coughing so badly at night, sometimes he'd pass out.

His desperate wife would try to revive him by slapping his face but he could never remember it and even accused her of dreaming it.

He went to his GP but for months, doctors could find nothing wrong.

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Then he developed diarrhoea, and started to fear he could actually have cancer.

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So when he finally got the diagnosis last year after more tests, he said he was prepared for it.

"It was funny, when he told me I had cancer, I didn't get upset, because I'd already done that a year before,' he said.

"I was like, 'I've got two grandkids, I'm not going anywhere, what are you going to do about it?'"

Luckily, Mr Devenny's cancer hadn't spread, so chemo and radiotherapy have all but made the tumours vanish.

He's now on a new immunotherapy drug, and a scan two months ago showed the cancer has pretty much gone.

But doctors have warned him to be careful amid COVID-19.

Apart from his grandchildren

As well as staying at home, Mr Devenny has to be wary around his beloved grandchildren, Harper, six, and Enzo, three.

After months apart at the start of the year, they're now able to see him, as long as they don't have any bugs.

Mr Devenny, who teaches art classes and runs a gallery, is keeping himself occupied by creating a virtual exhibition.

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He's also backing Cancer Council's Daffodil Day today.

This year, due to coronavirus, people are being encouraged to donate online.

Early symptoms of lung cancer include a cough which doesn't go away, shortness of breath, coughing up blood or phlegm, weight loss, hoarseness and fatigue.

Lung cancer kills more Australians than any other cancer, ahead of breast, prostate and ovarian cancers.

Adelaide Thompson, Campaigns Unit Manager from Cancer Council NSW said COVID-19 has brought uncertain times for cancer patients.

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"Preliminary Cancer Council research shows COVID-19 is distressing cancer patients and further disrupting services." she said.

Contact journalist Sarah Swain:

Source: 9News

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