Mike Smith, 66, feels he has been “dismantled” by haemochromatosis, having endured battles with blood iron levels since he was diagnosed in 1998, culminating in liver cancer.

Mike from Oldham, Greater Manchester, initially baffled doctors when his blood iron levels indicated he drank the equivalent of a bottle of whisky per day after his liver swelled. The relatively moderate drinker was soon diagnosed with haemochromatosis, which saw him give up booze for good.

After having blood let weekly over nearly two years, Mike’s iron levels seemed to stabilise.

Then, six years ago, Mike was told he had liver cancer as a result of regular check-ups.

“When you hear you have liver cancer, you think you’re going to die,” said Mike a father of three now grown-up boys.

“My family thought so, too. It’s devastating. I was lucky that it was caught early enough to be cut out, as it can easily spread around the body".

“I have to say, haemochromatosis has dismantled me really. My mum died in the street of heart failure at the age of 60 – maybe she had haemochromatosis too, but we’ll never know. I am lucky that it was caught early, and my sons have been tested and they don’t have it, thankfully. We really do need research in this area to raise awareness. Things have improved, but in the early days I had to explain my condition to the doctors who were treating me. We need doctors and the public to be aware of the symptoms and what it can do to the body.”