Susan Leatham is 66 years of age, married living in Dublin with three adult daughters, two of whom live outside of Ireland.
Susan also had lung cancer.
Susan is supporting The Big Check Up 2023 to help the Marie Keating Foundation “Change how we see lung cancer”.
This is her story.
My cancer journey started in July 2021, when I was 64, I was referred by my GP to a Rheumatologist as in the past year I had developed Raynaud’s Phenomena. One of the symptoms I had was bone pain, I was not coping very well. I am so thankful that she sent me for a CT scan, because it was then found that there something in my Lung which needed investigating.
I was immediately referred to the Rapid Access Lung Clinic in St Vincent’s Hospital, where after 8 weeks, biopsy and numerous tests it was found I had a 2.2cm non small cell lung cancer. I was told that it was caught in the early stages and it was not in the Lymph nodes.
Initially I was very scared and frightened, as I grew up at a time, when as a child you heard someone had lung cancer, that was it, there is nothing they could do, Lung cancer is the biggest cancer killer in Europe. It causes more deaths than colon, breast and prostate cancers combined.
I had a Lobectomy which consisted of my right lower lobe being removed. After a recovery time of 6 weeks my oncologist recommended 4 rounds of Chemotherapy as a ‘sweeper upper of any remaining cancer cells’
I have returned to work in the Health Service Executive. I never thought I would appreciate being able to get up in the morning and go to work.
I am very grateful that my lung cancer was caught early. It has been two years since my cancer diagnosis and my 6 monthly scans have been clear. My 2 year CT scan is next month which I am keeping my fingers crossed. I will be monitored from now on yearly up to 5 years and am hopeful.
Should it return, I have been told that I would be a candidate for Targeted Therapy, which is where there are drugs that target specific genes and proteins in the cancer cells that cause my specific type of cancer to grow.
While I had no respiratory symptoms, I would urge anyone, if you notice any changes to your health, any cough that won’t go away, just any change that persists and is not getting better. Please get it checked out with your GP. Do not ignore it as Lung Cancer caught in the early stages has a higher percentage of progression free survival
I am thankful for all the research and advancement in Cancer treatments, which allows me to be here today.
Anyone with lungs can get lung cancer.
Click here to learn the facts about lung cancer, its signs and symptoms and read other real stories and experiences. The Big Check Up 2023 from The Marie Keating Foundation.
Susan is a member of the Irish Lung Cancer Community and if you or a loved one has been impacted by lung cancer the Irish Lung Cancer Community is here for you. They have a Facebook group, Twitter (@LungCommunity) and Instagram page (@irishlungcancercommunity)