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Ann Long, a retired social worker, had surgery to remove part of her lung after she was diagnosed with lung cancer.
Ann first noticed something was wrong one morning. "I was brushing my teeth," she says, "and as I swilled out my mouth, I noticed a tiny red spot, which I knew wasn’t fresh blood. I thought something wasn’t quite right and I should get it checked out." Ann had also recently developed a cough first thing in the morning.
"I immediately went to see my GP to discuss my symptoms and she sent me for a chest X-ray, which showed that there was a shadow on my lung. After that, I had a bronchoscopy and a CAT scan. It was confirmed that I had lung cancer.
"After I received the diagnosis, I discussed the different treatment options with the consultant. It was decided that the best treatment for me was to have half of my left lung removed. I continued to have regular check-ups after the surgery, but now I no longer require any medical follow-ups.
"Every day I’m amazed at how fortunate I am. I'm thankful I went to the GP as soon I spotted symptoms that I knew were unusual. I would urge anybody who has the potential signs of lung cancer, such as a persistent cough, to visit their GP straight away. There is nothing to be nervous about, and you should not be afraid. The worst thing you can do is to leave your symptoms too long. Speed is the most important thing.
"I have always lived a very active life, and being diagnosed with lung cancer didn't stop that. I go on regular three-mile walks, I swim, I exercise, I go to the gym and I’m learning Tai chi. I'm about to start Nordic walking. I also enjoy painting, playing bridge and I'm researching my family history.
"A few people speak to me now about lung cancer, and about symptoms they or their partners have, and I always encourage them to go to their GP. It's better to have these things checked out than to ignore them."