“I didn’t have what are considered your ‘common’ lung cancer symptoms. My initial symptom was clubbing of the fingers; the tips of my fingers were swelling up all the time. I googled it – as you do – and a respiratory problem flagged up. I went to my GP and he sent me for a chest x-ray that same day.
I started to get concerned when I overheard the x-ray technician call for a radiographer. I was sent for CT scan and they found an advanced tumour in my right lung. The consultant was talking about a definitive biopsy but the surgeon just said no, the right lung was coming out and so it did, all of it.
I am very fortunate that my GP was aware that finger clubbing was a symptom. GPs nine times out of 10 are the first port of call for somebody so it essential that they understand all the signs and symptoms in order to be able to refer you on to the next stage.
I had an absolutely phenomenal GP; the first thing he did was send me for a chest x ray. There was no going anywhere else, no delay, and at the same time he referred me to a respiratory consultant. This knowledge and decisiveness ultimately saved my life. I know so many others are not as lucky.
“People think lung cancer is a death sentence. That’s not surprising with the current survival statistics. But it doesn’t have to be. I’m proof that it doesn’t have to be. But it’s not going to just happen. The right people have to make it happen.”Brian wants other people with lung cancer to be given the chance he has been
If the GP is not aware of the signs and symptoms, how can they refer you to right place? That’s why it’s taking people months to find out. We want early diagnosis. We need early diagnosis. We don’t want it 3, 4, 5, 6 months down the line because it’s bigger then, it’ll have grown a lot more than it was when the patient first presented to their GP and, chances are sadly, it’s then incurable.
But GPs need help. They can’t do it without the necessary support so, pure and simple, there needs to be more awareness and more urgency. It’s the biggest killer. It’s killing more people than the rest of the cancers so we need more funding. The more they – GPs to MPs – are aware of lung cancer, the more they can push matters to help it get the funding and research it so desperately needs.
People think lung cancer is a death sentence. That’s not surprising with the current survival statistics. But it doesn’t have to be. I’m proof that it doesn’t have to be. But it’s not going to just happen. The right people have to make it happen. They have to make it a priority. They have to understand these people are worth saving.”
Since his diagnosis and surgery, Brian has been an incredible advocate for Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation. He is a very positive person and is determined to help others who have just been diagnosed with lung cancer, offering hope that, even at stage 3, lung cancer is treatable.
Brian recognises the importance of keeping fit and active, even when living with lung cancer. After his surgery he re-trained as a personal fitness instructor, working predominantly with cancer patients. He helps them improve their fitness for both pre and post surgery.