I remember Dad say to his consultant after he was diagnosed that ‘This day has come as no shock to me’.
“Dad was a smoker and worked in an industrial environment so he always thought that he might be at high risk of developing lung cancer. He had seen many of his work mates die of lung cancer. He once said to me ‘You never see an old welder, Em’. When I asked him why, he replied with two little words – ‘Lung cancer’.
Shortly after his first visit to the doctor, his health declined very quickly and, by the time he was diagnosed, the cancer was in both his lungs and had spread throughout much of his body including his bones, muscles, kidneys, lymph nodes and pericardium. He was too poorly for chemotherapy and instead he received palliative radiotherapy in an effort to reduce his pain.
He passed away on 15th January 2018, less than two months after he was diagnosed and less than six months after he was, ostensibly, a fit, healthy and active man who was enjoying his well-earned retirement.
We will never be sure how long Dad felt unwell for, or how long he had been experiencing any symptoms before telling us and seeking some advice. We suspect it was for longer than he would have admitted.
On reflection, Dad had changed during his last year. His mood and demeanour seemed different. His interest and energy levels seemed to have dropped and his eating habits changed. We just didn’t add it all up or suspect that he might be seriously unwell – it was all so subtle.
Even after seeing the doctor and telling us that he’d been coughing up blood, he tried to suppress the extent of his symptoms – leaving the room for coughing fits, quickly discarding blood soaked tissues and struggling with day-to-day physical activities such as mowing the lawns.
My Dad was a wonderful man. We always greeted each other with a hug, kiss and ‘I love you’. He was my hero and always will be. Our lives will never be the same again.”Emma on her dad, Bevan
Emma’s dad, Bevan, was not alone in his perception of lung cancer. One in four people are too afraid to go to the doctor if we have potential cancer symptoms.
But catching lung cancer early significantly increases a person’s chance of survival. This is why it is essential everyone knows the symptoms to lung cancer and go to the doctor as soon as possible if they are experiencing any symptoms or have any concerns. Know the symptoms and face your fear. It could save your life.