4th February 2023

World Cancer Day: I hadn’t even heard of a lobectomy

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With a family history of cancer, Kathryn Malcolm wasn’t afraid to ask her GP for a CT scan when seeing for an unrelated problem. She wasn’t sure why, but she just felt something wasn’t quite right. Her intuition proved to be right; Kathryn was diagnosed with stage 1b lung cancer.

As part of our World Cancer Day series, Kathryn shares how she went on to a type of treatment she didn’t even know was possible for lung cancer.

“They say we know our own bodies. That was certainly the case for me…

“I was seeing my GP for an unrelated problem and asked for a CT scan before I just felt something wasn’t right. Because of my family history of cancer, my GP requested a CT scan of my chest, as well as abdominals and pelvis.

“I knew something was wrong when I was called just two days later. I put two and two together and came up with lung cancer, despite having no symptoms and being a non-smoker.

“I had an appointment with a respiratory consultant who told me that a small nodule had been found on my lower left lung. A subsequent PET scan plus bloods, a lung function test and a CT guided biopsy then confirmed it was indeed lung cancer.

I was booked in for surgery on 20th September. I hadn’t even heard of a lobectomy until I was diagnosed and didn’t realise lung cancer can be treated with curative intent when it’s caught early. The word ‘cancer’ brings so much fear, but I now know that there is so much that can be done now. There is so much progress being made.

“I had my operation and was home three days later. The histology lymph node sampling results showed I didn’t not require any additional treatment. They had got it all.

“I am now doing really well. I am walking daily. I started off just walking for five minutes after my surgery. I now walk up to 40 minutes a day with ease and have found a new love for nature. I’m looking at doing a charity walk for Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation too.

“I have a fuller appreciation for life now. I am so grateful for it, and for my family and friends. I make sure to spend as much time as I can with those I love and have just returned home from a few days of visiting friends in Windsor and Billericay. My husband, Phil and I have also booked a holiday to Rio de Janeiro at the end of March, and we are so excited.

“I get to live my life now because I listened to my body, and I would encourage anyone to do the same. If you have an unusual pain, or just a nagging feeling, do something about it. Push for an x-ray or a CT scan. If I hadn’t, this could have been a very different story.”