[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 January 2007, 21:06 GMT
Irish minister in TV tumour spot
Conor Lenihan (file photo: August 2006)
Mr Lenihan ignored the lump as he was preoccupied with work
An Irish government minister has publicly thanked a sharp-eyed surgeon who spotted a growth on his face during a television appearance.

Irish Overseas Aid Minister Conor Lenihan said the surgeon, who has not been named, suggested that he seek medical advice after spotting the lump.

Doctors found a tumour which - although benign - required immediate surgery.

The 43-year-old has urged people to get even the smallest symptom checked by their doctor as soon as possible.

Mr Lenihan was taking part in a studio discussion show, Prime Time, on RTE television, the Irish state broadcaster, in December.

I decided to go public because I think there is a tendency among men when something like that happens to ignore it
Conor Lenihan

A viewer, a surgeon in Galway in the west of Ireland, was watching at home when he spotted a lump on the left side of the minister's jaw.

The following day the surgeon rang Mr Lenihan's office in the capital Dublin, and left a message asking him to call back about "a private matter".

The surgeon advised him to see a head and neck specialist immediately.

'Very fortunate'

Doctors discovered a tumour which, although benign, could have caused disfigurement and speech difficulties if it had gone untreated.

The father-of-three told the BBC he was very fortunate: "It was a benign tumour, so to speak. God, I was terribly relieved, obviously, but I was a bit shocked when I got the call."

The minister had noticed a slight lump on his face but said he ignored it because he was preoccupied at work.

"I decided to go public because I think there is a tendency among men when something like that happens to ignore it or almost wish it away or something.

"I think there's an argument - very strong argument - just for people generally to learn from it and say: 'Look, get detected early and find out if you have something like that.'"

Mr Lenihan has since given up smoking and returned to work after making a full recovery.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Conor Lenihan talks to Five Live



RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific