20th November 2018

Sarah Thomson

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“They thought lung cancer was really unlikely because I never smoked. I was very fit and very young so I didn’t fit what they thought might be the profile…”

Lung cancer was the furthest thing from Sarah’s mind when she had a scan on her neck. But as we always say, if you have lungs you can get lung cancer and, thanks to the vigilance of the radiologist, Sarah’s was caught early.

“Before I was diagnosed, I can’t say I ever really thought about lung cancer. I think if I thought about it I’d presume lung cancer happened to older people maybe, smokers, probably men. People who are struggling to breathe, coughing up blood. I wouldn’t have expected it to never happen to me.

Sarah, living with lung cancer

The operation itself went really well. I was only in hospital for three days, released on Christmas Day. There was some pain obviously, but it was well managed and all that’s left now is a scar that’s quite a good bragging wound!

It’s weird; I thought I’d really notice that part of my lung was gone but I haven’t. I’m back to work full time I’m back walking the dogs all the time. I take part in ultra-marathons as a walker, so I walked 50km for charity now, for Roy Castle and next year I’m doing two 100km walks.

The surgeon who did the operation said to me he’s got patients who’ve done Everest base camp after having the same operation!

It sounds really daft to say I feel lucky to have had lung cancer but I do. If my consultant hadn’t asked to do a second scan on me. If the radiologist who was looking for something in my neck ultimately hadn’t spotted something strange in my lung who knows where we’d be in a year or two’s time. Who knows whether I’d be able to have an operation or not. He probably saved my life, which is quite scary and quite emotional.

I know it’s scary. I was scared because I didn’t have a clue what would happen, what the next five years could bring but it’s better to know because there’s things that can be done. There are treatments available. It’s not all doom and gloom so the sooner you speak to someone the better.

Get checked out early is the advice from Sarah.

If you wait, it only gets worse so go and get it checked out because the sooner it’s checked out, you could be me sitting here cured effectively or you could leave it and things are very different.”