A recent article in the Daily Record (see here) discusses how Lung Cancer can be beaten by early detection. It’s a subject most people want to avoid talking about but lung cancer unfortunately is a disease that threatens thousands of Scots each year. Although often perceived as a ‘death sentence’, lung cancer isn’t the disease it used to be.
More than 4000 people die from lung cancer a year in Scotland and one of the main reasons mortality is so high is because it is not detected early enough. A new Scottish Government campaign launched last month and fronted by football legend Sir Alex Ferguson aims to raise awareness and increase earlier detection of the disease.
The new lung cancer awareness drive comes on the back of other campaigns from the Scottish Government’s ground-breaking Detect Cancer Early programme, which aims to increase the percentage of people who are diagnosed in the early stages of breast, bowel and lung cancer by 25 per cent by the end of 2015. Previous campaigns include the widely successful breast cancer campaign, featuring Elaine C Smith, and bowel cancer campaign, voiced by Still Game star Ford Kiernan.
More people than ever in Scotland are surviving lung cancer compared to 25 years ago. The simple truth is, more people are surviving because treatments are better and more people are getting checked earlier. The earlier lung cancer is found, the easier it is to treat. And the more likely you are to survive.
One Scot who knows the benefits of detecting the disease early is Bill Culbard, from Dunblane, who was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer 13 years ago. He’s now fit and well after receiving the all-clear following treatment and credits his successful battle with the disease to the early detection of his cancer.
He said: “In February 2000, we had a friend staying with us for a week who was a nurse and noticed that I had a bad wheeze at night. “I was aware of the problem but didn’t think it was anything to worry about. However, by the following morning. she had spoken to my wife who convinced me to get it checked out by a GP. “My doctor was fantastic and took my concerns very seriously. I had x-rays taken and the next morning I was told there was a shadow across my lung, which was swiftly diagnosed as inoperable cancer. “When I heard it was cancer, the bottom fell out of my world. My dad died of lung cancer when he was just 39 so I automatically feared the worst. “It all happened very quickly from then. Just three weeks later I was at the Beatson in Glasgow receiving chemotherapy followed by radiotherapy, and by December I was back at work, which was a big boost to morale.”
In February 2001, a specialist gave Bill the good news the cancer had gone.
Bill’s advice to others is simple. He said: “Being diagnosed with cancer will always be a huge worry but if it’s caught early enough, you stand a much better chance of survival.
“It’s normal to be frightened of cancer but early detection really does make a difference to your options and outcome. Whether it’s a lump or a persistent cough, you should always get it checked by your doctor. In most cases it’s nothing to worry about but it could save your life.”
Scots are being urged to be aware of any changes to a cough, their chest or breathing and to make sure they visit their GP as soon as possible to get checked. There are now new treatments and radiography programmes that can help make patients feel that bit better, as well as extending and improving their life.
Things are getting better when it comes to cancer, people just need to keep an eye on their own health and the health of their partner.
If you have a cough which won’t go away or your cough changes and you are worried about it, see your GP as soon as you can. Lung Cancer. Don’t Get Scared, Get Checked.
To find out more about lung cancer, visit www.getcheckedearly.org