17th May 2023

Importance of early screening – Elisabeth’s lung cancer story

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Wife, mother, dog walker, swimmer, actor and traveller, Elisabeth Cammell is certainly many things, but her life took a sudden turn after being diagnosed with early-stage lung cancer.  

Elisabeth, who is 59 and from Bristol, was attending a routine appointment for her arthritis when a nodule was spotted in her lung.  

“I had no symptoms, so I was totally shocked when I was put on the two-week FastTrack lung cancer referral list on 18th December.  

It was a very difficult Christmas. I thought the worst, so made the decision to get my affairs in order because I feared I may not have long to live. 

I saw the consultant on New Year’s Eve, and she thought it was a Lepidic slow growing adenocarcinoma.

I had a very long wait for my surgery due to the NHS waiting lists. I wish it had been done sooner

I needed a lobectomy to remove it, but she was sure that was all the treatment I needed. I was still very anxious as until the nodule was removed and a histology was completed.

I had my surgery on 23rd March. The first few days were tough as I was exhausted and weak after the operation, but my friends were amazing, they visited a lot, and my husband kept me well-fed. 

After two weeks they confirmed it was a nonaggressive cancer and they discharged me with no further treatment needed. I am hugely relieved. 

It’s now been a month since surgery and I’m doing well. I’ve been discharged with no further treatment and have returned to walking.  

I started going out two weeks after the operation, but I couldn’t manage much. I’ve now slowly built up and after four weeks after surgery was out walking by myself. I can now do a few miles albeit quite slowly! 

 I’m just glad I’m out and about again. I’m going to a yoga class next Monday which is 5 and a half weeks since the operation, so it’s amazing how quickly I have recovered. 

I still get very tired. I need to rest for a few hours every afternoon, but I am back cooking the family dinners. “

Elisabeth’s story shows how essential lung cancer screening is to catch the disease at the earliest opportunity.  Had Elisabeth not undergone the CT scan for her arthritis, her cancer may not have been discovered until much later and it could have been a very different story.  

Therefore, Elisabeth wanted to share her story, to highlight that you don’t need to feel unwell to have lung cancer and to encourage those invited for lung screening, or a targeted lung health check, to take up the opportunity. 

If my cancer hadn’t been found in November it may have eventually spread, therefore making it harder to treat.  

I am hoping my story highlights the importance of the charity’s fantastic, targeted lung health check campaign and encourage everyone invited to have the check-up – even if they feel well.  

I am very lucky my lung cancer was found early. I’ve had curative treatment and have since started travelling again.  

I visited Spain this year, but my goal is to explore Vietnam and Cambodia once I feel fully fit.”