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Dr Chris discusses CT scans detecting lung cancer
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When Dr George’s mum fell ill, he didn’t suspect that she had something sinister. “Even as a doctor, lung cancer wasn’t on my radar whatsoever,” he said of his mum’s diagnosis. Having first caught Covid, the malaise and shortness of breath persisted, leading Dr George’s mum to contact her GP.
“She was diagnosed with a chest infection and told to take some antibiotics, inhalers and steroids,” Dr George recalled.
A few weeks went by, but Dr George’s mum wasn’t getting any better, so an X-ray was arranged.
“Mum attended the outpatient clinic by herself when she was told that she had cancer, tamoxifen heart toxicity ” Dr George said.
“There really weren’t any warning signs that it was anything sinister until she received the CT scan results from the consultant.”
Remembering back, he added: “When I first found out I had very little information other than that she had lung cancer.”
Describing the moment as “frightening”, he feared the worse, as “most people are diagnosed at stage four, at which point very little treatment can be offered”.
“Finding out the diagnosis was like an earthquake that shook all our lives,” Dr George shared.
“Fortunately, as we got more information, we were told it was an early cancer.
“Many people don’t realise that a cough for three weeks or more could be a sign of lung cancer,” said Dr George.
“So it is vital that patients act on a persistent cough and don’t wait to see if it resolves on its own.”
Symptoms of lung cancer:
- A cough that doesn’t go away after three weeks
- Chest infections that keep coming back
- Coughing up blood
- An ache or pain when breathing or coughing
- Persistent breathlessness
- Persistent tiredness or lack of energy, and/or
- Loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss.
As the third most common cancer in the UK, it’s imperative that anybody experiencing any of these symptoms should see their doctor.
“The risk of developing lung cancer is most commonly attributed to smoking,” said Dr George. “However, this is not always the case.”
He added: “It’s vital that everyone stays alert against suspected symptoms.
“So, if you have a continuous cough or breathlessness, don’t ignore or assume it’s something else.
“Please visit your GP and get it checked out – it probably won’t be cancer but catching it early can help save lives.”
“We were relieved to speak with the hospital specialists who advised there were a whole array of different treatment options available.
“Even whilst Mum was having her treatment more options became available, which was a type of immunotherapy which was only just approved.”
Dr George added: “I can’t emphasise enough the importance of funding new research so that we have more cancer treatments in the future!”
Wanting people to be aware of the symptoms of lung cancer, Dr George listed the signs to look out for.
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