EXPENSIVE lifesaving operations to treat bone cancer complications left a desperate 25-year-old Swindonian in thousands of pounds of debt.

Viktor Panko has tried everything to cure his condition after suffering almost five years of relapses and repeatedly being told by medics to expect the worst.

Chemotherapy on the NHS failed so he went on a disastrous last-ditch effort to try alternative treatments in Canada, which led to concerned doctors carrying out emergency operations on a tumour in his lung.

These surgeries saved him but came with a £14,300 debt that he is struggling to pay back.

Viktor said: “It’s been hard. I knew it was a risk and realised the trip was a big mistake but I was desperate to try something different after everything conventional at home didn’t work.

“I can’t work, I’m on ESA and my parents spent a lot of money supporting my Canada trip so there’s no easy way of paying this back,

“This weird experience has changed me. There’s been a lot of stress from the pain and wondering whether I’m going to make it, which every cancer patient goes through.

“I’ve been told so many times that I will never find a cure and there was no chance for me so I got depressed and sick with worry, I felt dehumanised.

“This became the new normal but there’s no point in dwelling on it. You have to stay positive or it will kill you quicker.”

Viktor’s original osteosarcoma diagnosis came in 2014 after he felt sharp pains in his left knee. Three surgeries and four different chemo regimes failed to beat the illness.

He now has one tumour on his upper-left lung and 10 smaller ones around it. He went to Canada because he thought it would be easier to get CBD oil for treatment with THC because cannabis was legal there, but the oil was still hard to find and costly.

No company would insure him for the trip abroad and while he was there, the biggest tumour grew and pressed on to a blood vessel near his heart.

He added: “I was stressed over the decision and the costs and anxious because I had no health insurance. All this worry made my health worse. I was coughing up blood every day for a month and in horrible pain, then when I went to the doctors they carried out a few scans and found that the tumour was bleeding.

“They put me on radiotherapy to inhibit the tumour, performed a bronchoscopy and blocked the vessel that was bleeding.

“It was very unexpected and scary, I felt hopeless. They discharged me a few days later and recommended I fly back home as soon as possible because they thought I didn’t have long to live.”

Despite this extensive trauma, Viktor is determined to stay positive with his newest attempt, based around repurposing drugs used to treat other illnesses at a London clinic.

This latest treatment has finally stabilised him and he hopes that, even if the cancer cannot be cured, he can learn to live with it as a chronic illness.

Viktor, from Coleview, added: “I try to reduce my stress as much as possible, eat healthily and take supplements and I do feel better now. There’s less pain and I’m more optimistic about the future.

“I miss being able to have a job, I used to work as a nightclub but it made my condition worse. I wanted to write and produce music and that could still happen, but I’m learning web development so I can try to make a living from home.

“I just want to keep going, stay positive and live as long as possible.”

To help, visit gofundme.com/helpvikoffsethismedicalbills