On 27.01.22 between 11pm and 3am 28.01.22, our website will be undergoing scheduled maintenance. During this time period, payments and registrations may not go through. We recommend checking back after 6am to ensure all payments and registrations are fully processed.
Donate
24th April 2019

Gwen Boyle

View all Patient Stories

As a 35-year-old, active primary school teacher, lung cancer wasn’t even a thought in Gwen’s head. But when she saw her doctors face, she knew something was seriously wrong.

“I initially went to my doctors about something else. Whilst I was there, I mentioned a wheeze I had had for a while. But, because I work as a primary school teacher, my age and I’m quite fit and healthy, I got told it was a cold. It’ll clear up.

After a month, it hadn’t so I went back. I was given a couple of inhalers to try but when they didn’t help either, I returned the following month and said “I want to get to the bottom of this” so I got a chest x-ray.

Gwen, living with lung cancer.

“That’s my greatest fear – when I progress. Because I will progress at some point. My medication will stop working.”

Gwen was diagnosed with incurable lung cancer aged 35

Lung cancer was never brought up as a possible cause for my wheeze so, when I went to get my results I went on my own. I didn’t think I had anything to worry about.

I knew from the doctors face something was wrong though. He asked if I had anyone with me. I was like OK, obviously not good news then!

I am not ashamed to have lung cancer

I tell people I have lung cancer. I don’t feel ashamed about it. I don’t think you should feel ashamed about it.

People are genuinely quite shocked at my diagnosis. I was healthy. I was fit. I was still doing all the things used to do – working, walking the dog, jogging, on my bike.

I’m lucky being ALK+ as there’s lots of drugs and medications available. They don’t have many side effects and life is pretty much the same as it was. I do my kick boxing. I’m back at work part time. I walk my dog. I’ve been out jogging, the shopping. House work I try and avoid but I can do it! I’ll try anything and see if I can get on with it, if my body copes with it.

I think, because of that, people like I’m cured. But if you’re diagnosed at stage 4, you’re always going to be stage 4. I have to keep reminding them that I still have lung cancer. I’m just doing really well at the minute but that could change remember!

And that’s my greatest fear – when I progress. Because I will progress at some point. My medication will stop working. That’s the reality. I just hope the people working to make new treatments available succeed before my current one stops.”