A consultant has urged people to look out for symptoms and signs that could indicate lung cancer after she was diagnosed with the illness at just 38. Ruthra Coventry, from Aberdeen, was in “complete shock” when she found out about her illness back in 2018. Speaking about the ordeal on Less Survivable Cancers Awareness Day, she said: “I was only 38 years old when I was diagnosed with lung cancer, which came as a complete shock despite being a doctor.
“I had been suffering from recurrent chest infections, which I just put down to having a toddler bringing it home from nursery.
“I finally decided to get checked out after having an episode of such excruciating chest pain that I had to go to accident and emergency.”
Dr Coventry is fortunately now clear of any cancer, but is hoping her story will encourage people to look out for symptoms so that they can get life-saving treatment.
She added: “Don’t go by stereotypes of who you think lung cancer patients are – I was fit and healthy running around after my two-year-old.”
Consultant neurosurgeon at the Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences at the University of Edinburgh, Dr Paul Brennan, has also warned that some cancers can have symptoms that are “difficult to spot.”
As quoted by The Mirror, he explained: “The symptoms of less survivable cancers such as brain tumours can be difficult to spot, or even non-existent until the later stages of the disease.
“Despite this, public awareness of the common signs is crucial if we’re going to tackle the problem of late diagnosis.
“As well as this, we need more emphasis and investment in research for treatment and prevention of these cancers if we’re going to increase survival chances.”
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The NHS website advises that you should speak to your GP if you have had a cough for over three weeks, if you notice a change in your bowel habits, bloating for more than three weeks or bleeding when using the toilet.
A full explanation can be found here.
More than 90,000 people are diagnosed with lung, liver, brain, stomach, pancreatic or oesophageal cancer each year, leading to an excess of 67,000 deaths.
The LSCT (Less Survivable Cancers Taskforce) raises awareness for these cancers which have an average five-year survival rate of just 16 percent.