Man Told He Has Baseball-Sized Cancer Tumor After Water Squirts From Nose

A long-term smoker discovered that he had mouth cancer after he tried to drink water and it squirted out of his nose.

When he sought medical help, Phil Sledden-Houston, who started smoking when he was a teenager, was told that there was a tumor the size of a baseball in his right cheek.

Doctors suspected that it had gone undetected for four years.

The father of two from Middleton in the U.K. was 48 years old at the time. He was given six months to live if his tumor wasn't removed within a month of his diagnosis.

Sledden-Houston was also told to quit smoking immediately, and he is now urging others to do the same.

Smoking is the largest cause of cancer in the U.K., accounting for 15% of all cancer cases, according to Cancer Research UK.

In the U.S., smoking causes one-third of all cancer deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

It's also the leading cause of preventable deaths in the U.S., contributing to the demise of more than 480,000 people every year—nearly 20% of all yearly deaths.

Removing Sledden-Houston's tumor required an invasive operation that took more than 15 hours to complete, which has left his face permanently scarred.

Surgeons removed his right cheekbone, eye and palate, and used a part of his hip bone to help with the reconstruction of his face.

Some of his nerves were damaged during the operation, and he was unable to talk or eat properly for six months, partly because the teeth on the right side of his mouth also had to be removed.

Smoking as a Teenager

"I started smoking at school when I was around 15 or 16 as everyone smoked back then," he told the Manchester Evening News.

"I never thought about how it was affecting my health as I wasn't a heavy smoker, I only smoked a few a day."

Sledden-Houston didn't have to undertake chemotherapy or radiotherapy because his medical team managed to remove the entire tumor.

Now aged 51, he has been in remission for three years.

"My taste improved and I also started to save money, all of these were incentives to stop smoking but being diagnosed with cancer was definitely my wake-up call as I would have continued smoking," he added.

"I needed the shock of being diagnosed with stage 4 cancer to stop, and I urge everyone to give quitting a go before you end up like me."

A man smoking a cigarette outside
Sledden-Houston's right cheekbone, eye and palate were removed during surgery, and a part of his hip bone was used to help with the reconstruction of his face. sanjagrujic/iStock