Cancer survivor backs new campaign

Liz Clark says early detection of her lung cancer saved her life
Liz Clark says early detection of her lung cancer saved her life

A Cults woman who survived lung cancer has backed an early detection drive.

Liz Clark, 60, was diagnosed in 2013 after having a persistent cough checked out by her GP.

She is now supporting the Detect Cancer Early (DCE) lung campaign.

Liz has spoken of her experience in a bid to urge people not to ignore a cough that lasts three weeks or more, as it could be a sign of lung cancer.

After visiting her GP on two occasions, the mother-of-two was prescribed antibiotics, but when they had no effect, she went back and was referred for a chest x-ray.

Following the x-ray, she was told a suspected malignant tumour (mass) had been found in her right lung.

The retired university lecturer is thankful her cancer was found early as it was contained to her right lung, and following surgery is back to living a normal, active life.

Liz explained: “The news was a shock but everything seemed to happen quite quickly. I was seen at the hospital within ten days of the referral and went through a series of exploratory tests and scans to try and confirm the suspected diagnosis.

“Unfortunately the mass was in an awkward place and after three biopsies the doctors couldn’t collect enough tissue to confirm or deny a cancer diagnosis.”

Doctors decided the best course of action was to schedule surgery and remove the lower lobe of Liz’s right lung as the mass was restricting her airways. In the end, due to the position of the mass, Liz’s full right lung had to be removed.

She explained: “I got the news that the tumour was malignant a few weeks after my surgery. I was just very grateful that the surgeon was able to make such a quick decision during the surgery as it saved my life.”

Thanks to Liz’s cancer being found early, the disease was contained to the right lung and hadn’t spread, meaning no further treatment was needed.

She added: “I am back to living a normal, active life. I have limitations of course but I’ve learned to live with them. I am just so grateful I sought help when I did as things could have been very different.”

Dr Kirsten Cassidy, NHS Grampian’s GP Lead for Cancer, said: “If you’ve had a cough for three weeks or more, your GP wants to see you. It is probably nothing to worry about but it does need to be checked. A persistent cough could be a potential sign of lung cancer and the earlier it’s identified, the easier it is to treat.”