Lung cancer: Peter's story 

In this video, Peter talks about the symptoms that led to his lung cancer diagnosis, his treatment and the support he received from his cancer nurse specialist.

Lung cancer myths and facts

Transcript of Lung cancer: Peter's story

My name is Peter Quinn.

I'm 42 years old.

I was diagnosed with lung cancer in May, 2006.

My symptoms were quite unusual for lung cancer.

It started off with... I had problems with my knees.

I had a swelling on the knee.

I went to the GP who had them x-rayed.

There was nothing structurally wrong,

so he gave me some anti-inflammatory drug

to see if that would work.

But it didn't seem to improve the situation.

I have two small children so I'm up and down on my knees quite a bit,

and it was becoming quite painful.

I had got the referral to the rheumatologist.

Then, basically, I went to see the consultant.

She gave me a complete examination.

Checked, obviously, my knees, and looked at my fingers.

She noticed that on my hands,

I had what was called digital clubbing, so the ends of your fingers are swollen.

Then she said, "Just as a precaution, we'll do a chest x-ray,

because that can be a sign of chest problems."

"Could be bronchitis. Could be anything."

So off I went to get a chest x-ray.

I came back 15, 20 minutes later and she showed me the x-ray,

and it had a huge shadow on my right lung.

I was then referred to a chest physician who did some further tests.

That confirmed I had a syndrome called HPOA,

which is hyper pulmonary osteoarthritis,

where the lining of the bones becomes thick,

and this is associated with non-small cell lung cancer.

Lung cancer statistically is associated with smoking.

80 per cent are associated with that.

I smoked 15 or so years ago.

I hadn't smoked for many years, because I had the children.

I just got away from the habit,

so the typical link

of, you know, 20 to 40, heavy smoker, a day, that wasn't me.

In the right lung you have three lobes.

They completely removed one lobe

and, basically, joined it back up together.

So they probably removed a third, if not more, of my right lung.

The treatment never really affected me dramatically,

apart from the surgery,

because they cut a huge hole in your back,

and start moving things about.

So you've got the physical issue of that.

But after, sort of, four weeks or so, after surgery,

I was, you know, OK.

During chemo, I never had any major side effects,

so I was still quite fit and active.

The one that did surprise me a little bit was the radiotherapy.

That was because of where I was being irradiated,

I got inflammation of the oesophagus,

and it was incredibly painful to swallow.

I think one of the things that did help me,

and what people should use,

is a lot of hospitals have cancer nurse specialists,

and they are, basically, a support and link

between yourself and the medical machinery.

And they were excellent in terms of having a sympathetic ear,

answering your questions and pointing you in the right direction.

So I would say use the available resources,

and try and focus on something positive, if you can.


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