Lung Cancer Awareness Month – November

Lung Cancer is the UK’s second most common Cancer. It has the lowest survival outcome of any Cancer. Lung Cancer is the most common cause of Cancer death.

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I have always considered myself to be a very lucky girl. I had the most amazing childhood, was looked after well, was brought up thoughtfully and loved beyond belief. I grew up with my Mum, Dad, big sister, big brother and little sister. Through every milestone and achievement I have always had them all by my side.

Now there is always an empty seat and a space aching in my heart.

In 2011, my Dad died of lung Cancer.

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It was sudden. Dad had a bit of a bad back – being a mechanic he thought he must have twisted funny around a car, but the pain kept on lingering. He went to the doctor and they said he seemed fine. But he wasn’t. He was feeling worse and worse and on the 16th March 2011 he went into hospital. Still, the doctors could not find anything wrong so he spent a couple weeks going back and forth. Then they said he had fluid in his lung which was causing the back pain and it needed to be drained. It got drained but soon the pain came back, there was no comfort for long. More tests were done, but phew! It was not Cancer, just fluid. Six weeks on from his first hospital visit, our news changed. It was the end of April and we heard the words – it was Cancer.

I panicked. I cried. I was angry.

He was MY Dad. Not Cancer, surely?! They must be wrong.

But they weren’t. I started to think of the future – would my Dad walk me down the aisle on my wedding day, would he be here to? But that was way out of the question. I was in my second year of University of a three year course. I had found out that my Dad had been asking the nurses if he would make it to my graduation and they couldn’t give him an answer. All I thought was how silly he was being and obviously he will be at my graduation!!!

It was the 18th May, three weeks after the C word, the day of my last University exam, and my 21st Birthday! For one day I wanted to celebrate.

I finished my exam and sat with my friends. My brother calls and tells me he is heading the two hours to my University city to see me on my special day. I thought it was a lot for him to do as I was planning to be home two days later, but we are a close family and I headed to my flat to meet him.

I had finished my Uni year, was 21, was spending time with my family and had plans to go out with friends that night.

My brother walks in, sits me down and says:

“There’s no easy way to say this. Dad died this morning.”

I remember those words like I just heard them. No NO NO! and I cried.

Dad was gone forever. Just like that.

You never know when Cancer will hit.

You see, it turned out my Dad had Mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is not considered lung cancer however it is a cancer that affects the lining of the lungs and is only caused by exposure to asbestos. It is rare and sadly there are not many Mesothelioma survivors.

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Growing up and starting employment my Dad was exposed to asbethos and over the years he had no idea what it would eventually do to him.

It lies dormant for years and symptoms can often not appear until many years later. The latency period, the time from the first point of contact with asbestos to when the symptoms appear, is around 40 years in the majority of cases. This means that the cancer has progressed and therefore more difficult to treat. Asbestos can still be found in buildings and products today so ensure you risk asses. Source. 

Symptoms of Mesothelioma Caner include:

– Anemia
– Chest pain
– Nausea
– Shortness of breath
– Weight loss
– Coughing

 

There are treatments options available but there is still a challenge to know the most effective method to use on sufferers.

But one thing is for certain – our lungs are important!

November marks Lung Cancer Awareness Month and the importance of keeping our lungs healthy.

 

Lung Facts:

* Approximately 1.5 billion people are breathing in dangerous levels of pollution every day
* Humans breathe in 11,000 litres of air every day
* If you stretch out the 600 million alveoli in your lungs then they would be the size of a tennis court
* The left lung is slightly smaller to allow room for your heart

 

Take care of your lungs – you need them!

> Avoid air pollution
> Avoid exposure to toxic substances
> Do not smoke
> Exercise regularly
> Breathe in through your nose
> Improve indoor air
> Know the warning signs

 

Please help spread the word of Lung Cancer Awareness Month and look after your lungs!!

I love you Dad and miss you every day xXx

 

This post is in association with Heather – a mesothelioma survivor. I have not been compensated for the post – I just feel it is such an important topic to share.

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