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Reflections of a Lung Cancer Survivor

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Good Morning Everyone,

I have been invited by a cancer organisation in the UK to submit an article for their newsletter based on my lung cancer advocacy diary this year.it is their intention that this will introduce me to regular diary slot in their publication.I will leave the Hope summit experience out as a separate item for the next publication.

Reflections of a Lung Cancer Survivor.

This month is the first anniversary of my retirement from a teaching career that spanned almost 40 years, I remember at the time thinking, rather naively, as it turned out “I wonder what on earth will I do with all this newly found spare time?”well you know the old saying,keep building new roads and new traffic will appear to fill them,this has been true in my case.

Being a lung cancer survivor and advocate,it was only natural that this should become my new vocation.Lung Cancer,that most prolific of killers,that I have come to recognise as the “Cinderella Cancer”in that despite it killing more each year, than the total of deaths to breast,prostate and bowel cancer,it remains the least supported in donations by the general public and attracting funds for research.Despite the great improvements in the 5 year survivability of other cancers,lung cancer surviviability for the same 5 years period remains unchanged over the last thirty years?.Lung Cancer does have a serious stigma attached to it,rightly or wrongly,many believe,most effected persons are smokers who have made a poor life choice by smoking,therefore we can say,their cancer was self inflicted.However,as many as 60% of people now dxd,have either never smoked or have given up decades ago.

I recent months my advocacy,has me as a layperson on a committee sponsored by SIGN made up of approx 20 persons,to redraft the guidelines document “The management of patients with lung cancer”.The committee is made up of oncologists,thorassic surgeons,pharmicists,medical psychologists,researchers and reporters.I have recently submitted my first draft on my remit “The provision of patient information”.The report is projected to be published in the spring of next year.

Healthy Life Choices.

This was the BBCs Radio 5 programme in response to a report issued by Cancer Research UK that claimed that 40% of cancers could be avoided if the general public made healthier life choices.I was invited to this programme to be interviewed on this report,following my interview,I was invited to two further programmes that morning that were linked to the report.

Detect Cancer Early Campaign.

The Scottish Government initiated a 2 year £30 million campaign to improve the early detection levels of cancer,this would include TV and Radio public service broadcasts.I was invited by Radio Clyde 1 to make a recording in support of this campaign.Following this recording,which was well received by the sponsors,I was invited to attend a public launch of the campaign and meet the Scottish Minister of Health,Nicola Sturgeon along with two others,a breast cancer survivor and a bowel cancer survivor.All the media were present,each of us were interviewed,and we appeared the following day in all the local and national newspapers.

Clear the Air Campaign.

The Glasgow Evening Times,interviewed me for their Clear the Air campaign,which is aimed at its readers giving up smoking,the newspaper published my story,and I continue to contribute to the campaign,by supporting their facebook page.

Looking immeadiately ahead,I have been nominated for an award by the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation along with two other advocates in the same category “Unsung Hero”,the award ceremony will be held on Thursday the 31st of May in Liverpool.I look forward to attending and will be wearing my full kilt ensemble.

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