Psycho-oncology (UK) Information & Help

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Lung Cancer - Patient Narratives (c)

1. Discovery: Lung Cancer - Signs, symptoms and delay in diagnosis
Image He went to the hospital with chest pains which were at first diagnosed as angina.
Image His lung cancer was found after he consulted his GP about another matter.
Image Her first symptom was fatigue, which she put down to overwork.
Image Her initial signs and symptoms were breathlessness and weight loss.
Image She first consulted her doctor because of a painful arm and numb fingers.
Image His loss of voice was a sign that the cancer had recurred.
Image Initially he had repeated chest infections that did not respond to antibiotics.
Image His initial symptoms included a persistent cough and blood in the sputum.
Image The first sign that anything was wrong was when he coughed up a load of thick blood.
Image His first symptom of mesothelioma was shortness of breath.
Image Before mesothelioma was diagnosed he had a suspected chest infection, pain in the chest, and pain in the shoulder.
Image She delayed seeking help for her cough because she did not think she had a serious problem.
2. Living with it: Feelings of stigma, shame and guilt 
Image Says smoking is addictive and research for lung cancer is relatively under funded because people are blamed for their illness.
Image Says that because most patients are not around to talk about their illness misunderstanding persists and keeps the stigma rolling.
Image Asserts that smokers are stigmatized and that GPs don't investigate symptoms as promptly as they might with other cancers.
Image Asserts that all lung cancer patients are stigmatized, whether or not they smoke.
Image Explains that he feels ashamed that he has cancer.
Image Explains why he thinks his daughter found it hard to talk about his illness.
Image Describes how television adverts warning people about the dangers of cigarette smoking upset her.
Image Thinks more should be said about people who have survived lung cancer.
Image She doesn't talk about cancer because she fears that others will avoid her when they learn the diagnosis.
3. Living with it: Thoughts on recurrence, death and dying 
Image Her biggest fear is the fear of cancer coming back.
Image He has a lot to live for and the thought of possibly dying relatively young, leaving others, is very difficult.
Image Says that palliative care and good pain control can give people additional months to live.
Image Reflects that death comes to all of us and that he has had time to organise his life and his funeral.
Image He held his own wake and collected money for charity
Image If in future she suffers uncontrollable pain she would like her family to help her to die.
Image She is not afraid of dying and does not expect to suffer any pain.
Image He was reassured that there are health professionals who specialise in pain management.
Image She was very upset when she was invited to visit a hospice.
Image She would like to die at home, but knows that her local hospice is a wonderful place.
4. Living with it: Support
Image At first she wasn't aware of the excellent support that was available within the hospital.
Image Describes the support she receives when she visits the day hospice.
Image She encouraged a nurse to set up a support group which has been a great success.
Image She enjoys her support group and says people's partners can go too.
Image Explains how the support group can help patients and their partners.
Image He values the time that the nurse spends with him at the support group.
Image Says that he has not joined a support group because he has had wonderful support from family and friends.
5. Side effects of surgery 
Image Describes the pain, worry, breathing difficulties and numbness around the scar that he experienced after his lobectomy.
Image Describes the terrible constipation after her lobectomy.
Image Ever since his lobectomy he becomes breathless very easily.
Image He was short of breath after his pneumonectomy but increased his lung capacity with physiotherapy.
Image Says that he felt a bit depressed after his pneumonectomy.
Image He developed a chest infection after his lobectomy.
Image After his pneumonectomy he developed a fistula which healed gradually.
Image Explains why he had to have a thyroplasty operation after his lobectomy.
Image He developed a rapid heart rate after his extra-pleural pneumonectomy.
Image Describes some of the side effects of his extra-pleural pneumonectomy.
6. Treatment choices, side effects and medical care: Side effects of chemotherapy 
Image Recalls that her veins became hard and uncomfortable during chemotherapy.
Image Talks about the Hickman line that she had put into a vein in her chest.
Image Recalls the medication he was given to control his nausea.
Image Discusses his feelings about losing his hair during chemotherapy.
Image She was very upset at first when she lost her hair during chemotherapy.
Image Describes some side effects of chemotherapy, including symptoms similar to influenza and loss of taste
Image During chemotherapy he was very sick and developed pins and needles in the fingers and toes.
Image Recalls that during chemotherapy she developed thrush.
Image Describes the side effects of chemotherapy that she experienced, particularly the mouth ulcers, tiredness and diarrhoea.
Image Explains how chemotherapy badly affected her blood.
Image Explains that her platelet count dropped dangerously low during chemotherapy.
Image Explains that he developed pneumonia because he wasn't warned that his immune system had been affected by the chemotherapy.