'Don't ignore signs of lung cancer'

Lung cancer survivor Ken Cook

Lung cancer survivor Ken Cook

First published in News Bicester Advertiser: Photograph of the Author by

A LUNG cancer survivor has urged people with symptoms to get themselves checked out before it is too late.

Grandfather Ken Cook, from Watlington, was diagnosed with the disease last year, despite never exhibiting symptoms.

Thankfully a scan revealed Mr Cook’s cancer and he was able to be treated rapidly with a pioneering procedure called micro-ablation.

But his brother, Gilbert Cook, was not so lucky.

He said: “I woke up a couple of times with a mouthful of blood, so I went to the doctor.

“But other than that I had no symptoms at all.

“My brother was one of these men who rarely went to the doctor.

“But eventually his breathing became so bad he could barely move.

“By the time he got to the hospital, they said to him they were sorry but it had gone too far.

“There was nothing they could do.”

Mr Cook’s appeal comes as the NHS launches a national campaign to encourage those with persistent coughs to seek medical attention.

Lung cancer is the country’s biggest cancer killer, claiming over 28,000 lives a year across the UK.

Each year about 300 people are diagnosed with lung cancer in Oxfordshire, and for about 240 the disease proves fatal.

The Department of Health has launched the Be Clear on Cancer Campaign, which runs until June 30, to raise awareness of the symptoms.

It advises anyone who has had a cough for more than three weeks to make an appointment to see their doctor.

Damian Hannon, GP lead for cancer care in Oxfordshire, said: “One of the most common symptoms of lung cancer is a persistent cough, which many people think is not something that warrants ‘troubling’ their GP with.

“But I want to reassure people in Oxfordshire that doctors will not feel you’re wasting their time.

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“It’s very straightforward for your GP to examine you and determine whether to send you for a chest X-ray.

“The process is simple and if your GP suspects it might be cancer you will see a specialist within two weeks.

“If you, or someone you know, has been suffering from a cough for three weeks or more please make today the day you ring your surgery to make an appointment.”

Mr Cook said: “Getting checked out early saved my life. I would urge everyone with symptoms to do the same.”

Symptoms to watch out for include:

  • A cough that has got worse or changes.
  • Repeated chest infections.
  • Coughing up blood.
  • Breathlessness.
  • Feeling more tired than usual for some time.
  • Losing weight for no obvious reason.
  • An ache or pain in your chest or shoulder that has lasted some time.

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