“I would never have gone to the doctor by myself. I know that, because I didn’t feel ill. I had a cough but I wouldn’t bother my doctor with something like that.”
And yet, unbeknown to him, Bill Simpson had early stage lung cancer.
Bill is far from alone in his situation; many people with early stage lung cancer don’t feel particularly ill or, if they do experience symptoms, it is dismissed as something less severe.
As a result, almost three quarters of people with lung cancer are diagnosed at late stage. Advances in treatments means people are living well with lung cancer for longer but, to increase the chances of curative treatment, we need more people to be diagnosed early – like Bill was.
But how do you get ahead of a disease which is clever and sly, and whose symptoms are either vague or non-existent?
You scan people…
“I had a call from a nurse inviting me the check and I thought I may as well go.
“At the initial appointment, I was told I needed a CT scan and then a PET scan. That was when I was told – you have lung cancer. However, it’s localised, it’s a very small amount and it hasn’t spread.
“One minute you’ve been given a death sentence, the next you’re getting a reprieve and it comes out in two sentences!
“The whole process, from the initial breath tests to having the operation and getting out of hospital, took about six weeks.
“You’re operated on and a couple of days later you can go home – you’re fixed. You’re mended, you feel great! The doctor has said it’s given me ten more years of my life.
“I can now look forward to spending it with my wife and seeing my son and, if he has children, I’ll be able to see them – my grandchildren – because I’ve got everything to live for, everything to look forward to.Bill on his future thanks to early detection.
“These mobile scanners should be in every major city. I’ve only seen one in my life and that’s the one that saved me.
“That’s the big thing – if they find it, you can be fixed. People just need to be given the same chance as me.”
We couldn’t agree more, Bill! That’s why we launched our #LetsRoll campaign, calling for the government to roll out a national lung health check programme because we know, from our Nottingham project and other similar programmes, it would save lives.
Donations from people like you, now mean we can fund the next phase of the project to a population of 36,000 people.