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Page last updated at 09:21 GMT, Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Kent golfer Benn Barham feels 'lucky' after cancer op

Benn Barham
Barham is yet to record a victory on the European tour

Kent golfer Benn Barham feels "extremely lucky" that his cancerous tumour was detected so early.

The 34-year-old father-of-one, from Tenterden, is continuing his rehabilitation after having his right kidney removed last month.

It was only found by chance after he fell ill while playing at Gleneagles.

"My overwhelming feeling is that I'm extremely lucky. If I hadn't had stomach problems I wouldn't have had a scan," he told BBC Radio Kent.

Barham had been preparing himself for further treatment when test results revealed the tumour was cancerous.

But his specialist decided to monitor his progress for the next few months.

"Fingers crossed that's now hopefully the end of it," he said.

"I just need regular scans every six months so I think it was as good news as I could have wished for.

"I was pretty happy. I wouldn't say it was an all-clear but it was as close to an all-clear as you can get."

Barham, who lost his European Tour card last year, is still some way off returning to the game but he hopes to get back into it after Christmas.

"Physically I'm up and about," he said.

There have been a couple of moments where you wonder how it's going to work out but fingers crossed it's been good

Benn Barham

"I can now drive - which took five weeks. I've made a few putting strokes and I went swimming yesterday for the first time and it felt quite good.

"I think it's a case of getting the movements back in my body before I step onto a course or a range to hit balls.

"I don't want to go back too early as I want to feel my body is moving the right way.

"I'm not going to be fit enough to play tour school this year so my next goal will be to start hitting balls in January.

"I plan to play a full season on the Challenge Tour with a view to hopefully getting some invites onto the main tour through my various contacts."

Behind his upbeat outlook Barham owes his positive attitude to his family, friends and even complete strangers.

"I've had great support around me - from my immediate family, to my friends, to people I don't even know.

"I've had messages from people who have been in a similar situation.

"My rule has been to face what's in front of you. Don't worry about the unknown.

"Every time I've hit an obstacle I've faced up to it and just got over it.

"There have been a couple of moments where you wonder how it's going to work out but, fingers crossed, it's been good."

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