4th February 2023

World Cancer Day: I’m still running after having surgery for lung cancer

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Warren Gray went through every emotion when he was first told he had lung cancer. He believed his life was over but after undergoing surgery, chemo and radiotherapy, Warren now has no evidence of disease (NED). As part of our World Cancer Day series, Warren shares what he’s learnt about lung cancer after his own surprising experience.

“When I first found out the result of my CT scan, I felt like my life was falling apart. Lung cancer? How could I have lung cancer? I never took risks and always tried to lead a healthy lifestyle so how could this happen to someone like me?

“I thought my life was over. I was so scared and very angry; I felt that I had been cheated out of my life. That day, I sat down and wrote letters to each of my loved ones as I honestly believed that I had been given a death sentence.

I look back now, and I am amazed at how far I have come, and how well I am. I now know that there are so many amazing treatments for lung cancer, and options are changing, expanding, and improving all the time. Having experienced it first hand, I have a much different and more positive outlook now. There is life after lung cancer.

“My official diagnosis was stage 3a non-small cell lung cancer, confirmed only after I had surgery as the biopsy was inconclusive. I then had mop up chemotherapy in March 2022 and precautionary radiotherapy in August 2022 due to the challenging location of my cancer. I am now NED, not on any treatment and just having regular follow ups.

“It is a very different picture to what I first expected following those initial tests. I live a normal life having had lung cancer and it won’t stop me living the life I want.

“I am back running again, which was something I thought I might never be able to do again. I love running and have run marathons before. I was really scared that my treatment would stop me running long distance, so much so that I did a 7.5-mile run before my surgery just in case it was my last chance!

“I feel incredibly lucky that my lung cancer was caught early enough for curative-intent treatment, particularly given that I only had an intermittent cough and was just 44 years old. I was sent for x-ray and then a subsequent CT scan and am now in remission. That’s the key; early intervention and detection is how more people survive lung cancer like me.”