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Tuesday, 12 March, 2002, 19:05 GMT
'I survived lung cancer'
Lung cancer
Pauline Nesham overcame lung cancer
Pauline Nesham is one of the fortunate few - seven years after a diagnosis of lung cancer, she is alive and well.

In the UK, fewer than one in ten in her situation survive the disease.

However, Pauline, from Leeds, had one advantage over many most cancer patients - her disease was spotted earlier than most, giving more opportunity for treatments to tackle it.

She said: "I was very lucky that it was spotted so soon."

The first sign of trouble came in 1995, when she was 56.

"I had been smoking for 30 years, so I've got no-one to blame but myself, " she said.

When she started getting breathless, even when performing simple tasks such as getting ready for work, then she knew it was time to see a doctor.

Chemotherapy

The diagnosis was swift, but doctors immediately threw her a lifeline.

She said: "I was offered a place on a clinical trial at Jimmy's (St James' University Hospital, Leeds) - by the following week I was being assessed, and I started treatment very quickly.

"I didn't really have time for the bad news to sink in."


I was very lucky that it was spotted so soon

Chemotherapy was gruelling, and Pauline also needed a procedure in which stem cells from her own bone marrow were taken out and put back after treatment.

She said: "During the treatment, I couldn't get out of bed for 10 days, I felt so awful."

However, after six months, came the good news that few lung cancer patients receive - Pauline's cancer appeared to have been eradicated.

So far, it has not returned.

"I feel so fortunate - I know that there are so many others who do not do as well.

"I think I was one of the the patients on the trial at Jimmy's who did the best, and hopefully my good luck will continue."

See also:

12 Mar 02 | Health
Blood test for lung cancer
19 Nov 99 | Medical notes
Smoking
17 Mar 00 | C-D
The politics of cancer
11 Sep 00 | Health
Smoking addiction 'sets in early'
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