As November is National Lung Cancer Awareness month, our editor Suzie considers her very personal experience of the disease.
My mum has always been a frail person, afflicted by a number of ailments over the years and is in fact, currently battling bladder cancer.
But that didn’t make her diagnosis of lung cancer any less shocking, distressing or upsetting for family when we discovered she had it confirmed.
Mum’s tiny. She’s only 5’2” tall and usually weighs in at around seven-and-a-half stone, but then the weight loss began. She couldn’t put on weight and started to look skeletal.
Then there was the cough, the relentless cough, the chest infections that never, ever, cleared up.
I know more about the lungs now than I thought I’d ever know. I know that there are five lobes on the two lungs – three on one, two on the other. How do I know that? Because mum now only has two on one lobe and one on the other.
She was diagnosed with lung cancer on two separate occasions and each time had a lobe of the lung removed.
Being small and slight the operations took it out of her, but she was one of the lucky ones. Mum didn’t need chemotherapy; the operations removed the damaged parts of the lung and she made a ‘full recovery’. Full in the sense that cancer is a beast and has now found its way to her bladder, which she’s battling.
The good thing was that the doctors found out it was cancer quickly enough to treat it before it spread or before mum needed a lung transplant.
As with all cancers awareness, catching it early, is the best way to beat this horrendous disease.
The aim of an annual campaign on Lung Cancer Awareness is to encourage people displaying the common symptoms of lung cancer, such as a persistent cough, breathlessness or unexplained weight-loss, to visit their GP.
Lung cancer is the UK’s biggest cancer killer. It is the most common cause of death from cancer for both men and women, claiming almost 35,000 lives a year. Early detection of lung cancer makes it more treatable, so encouraging people to recognise symptoms such as a persistent cough and see their doctor sooner could save lives
If you’d like to know more of the signs have a read of this article..
The Roy Castle Lung Foundation has lots more information on living with lung cancer, supporting people with it and understanding the condition.