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Lung Cancer Awareness Month 2017 

08/11/2017   |  Argyll & Bute; North & West Highland; South & Mid Highland; Raigmore 

A Highland man treated for lung cancer is urging other people to consult their GP as soon as possible if they have any symptoms of the condition.

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month and Graham Macleod is using the annual event to retell his story in the hope it will encourage others to seek help at the earliest opportunity when treatment is most likely to be successful.

The 64-year-old visited his GP last year because of a persistent chest infection. The self-employed taxi driver from Inverness said it never crossed his mind that it could be cancer.

He said: “I had a chest infection in May 2016 and when it hadn’t gone away after a few weeks, I went to see my doctor. I was given a course of antibiotics but that didn’t clear it up so I was sent for a chest x-ray.”

Following further investigations, it was discovered that Graham had lung cancer. He had an operation in August last year to remove the tumour.

“Once the doctors had seen the shadow on my lung, it all happened very quickly,” he explained. “I was lucky and I’m glad they managed to spot it in time.”

Mr Macleod told his story to NHS Highland last year and produced a short video for social media - and he wanted to increase awareness of the importance of early detection of lung cancer.

He said: “It’s over a year now since my operation and I’m keeping in good health and working part-time. It’s not worth thinking about the outcome had I not gone to my GP.

“It’s important to increase awareness of the symptoms of lung cancer and encourage people to make an appointment with their GP if they have any concerns. The sooner people visit their GP, the better.”

Inverness-based GP Dr Sian Jones explained the symptoms of lung cancer and echoed Graham’s advice to contact your GP as soon as possible.

She said: “If you’ve had a cough for three weeks or more, it’s worth getting checked out with your GP.

“It may well be nothing to worry about, but it could be a sign of lung cancer. Other things to look out for include a cough you’ve had for a while which gets worse or changes, feeling breathless for no reason, a chest infection that doesn’t clear up or coughing blood.
“If you have any of these symptoms I would urge you to make an appointment with your GP. Early detection of lunch cancer is crucial in increasing survival rates.”

Dr Jones added: “Lung cancer isn’t what it used to be. More people are surviving now than previously – 250 more people a year when compared to 25 years ago. This is due to advancements in treatments and, crucially, more people getting checked earlier.”

Notes to editors:

NHS Highland has produced a video with Graham Macleod for social media. The video can be accessed at:  

Below is a list of symptoms that, if noticed, should prompt a visit to a local GP. Having one of more of these symptoms doesn’t mean it is lung cancer. However, if the symptoms persist for more than three weeks they shouldn’t be ignored. Arrange a visit with a GP to be on the safe side.

• A cough for three weeks or more
• A cough for a long time that gets worse or changes
• Feeling breathless for no reason
• A chest infection that doesn’t clear up
• Coughing blood
• Unexplained weight loss
• Chest or shoulder pain
• Unexplained tiredness or lack of energy
• A hoarse voice

Anyone with any of these symptoms should be encouraged to visit their doctor. It’s probably nothing serious, but it could be a sign of something that needs treatment.


Further information

Andrew Devlin 
Communications Manager 
01463 704723