Cancer Research supplement May 2003
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I was sorry to read that Jane Rogers has such a low opinion of the Queen Margaret Hospital. I also live in Fife, and discovered a lump in my breast last August. My GP immediately referred me to the breast clinic at Queen Margaret, and I was seen by the consultant within three weeks. He did a needle biopsy, and half an hour later was able to tell me that I had cancer, and that he would remove the lump and some lymph nodes the following week.
I have read with interest your articles in today's Scotsman and decided to send you my own story.
My husband died of liver cancer on 20.8.98. It was diagnosed on 22.5.98.
I was struck by your editorial (13 May) saying "almost half of all Scottish lung cancer patients receive no treatment at all". This is misleading. What I think you mean is that almost half of Scottish lung cancer patients receive no "active treatment", ie neither surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy. So what happens to them?
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2000. I have had a mastectomy and chemotherapy. I hope I am in full remission now.
Your article brought back many bitter memories, and prompted me to respond.
I am a former cancer patient, I was diagnosed with having Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia when I was 8, I relapsed when I was 13.
Give up smoking and if you are a young female, give up smoking yesterday. Smoking contributes to 30 per cent of all cancers, including cancers of the bladder, cervix, throat, kidney and mouth. It is responsible for 90 per cent of lung cancer, which kills one person every 15 minutes in the UK. The incidence is still rising in women. Giving up smoking, on average, adds three years to your life. Most chemotherapy drugs cannot match that result.
Be informed. The more you know, the easier it is to make decisions about your care. Doctors often hate it when patients turn up with screeds of information but that is what the experts would do and they would make informed choices on that basis.
The millennium celebrations were hardly over when Ann Davidson, then aged 64, discovered a lump in her breast. "It was a Sunday," she says, "so I had to wait till Monday to see the doctor." Her Linlithgow-based GP reassured her that it was probably nothing – most breast lumps are benign – but suggested further investigation.
Pauline McIlroy is a clinical nurse specialist at the Beatson Oncology Centre, Scotland's largest cancer hospital. She qualified as a Registered General Nurse at the Royal Infirmary Glasgow in 1986 and started her cancer nursing training at the Beatson the following year, before completing a BSc in health studies at Caledonian University and undertaking a post graduate diploma in cancer at Glasgow University.
CANCER care in Scotland hit its nadir in December 2001 when the country’s largest cancer hospital, the Beatson Oncology Centre in Glasgow, was plunged into crisis following the resignation of four of its senior specialists.
THE global cost of cancer services will triple by 2010, putting massive pressure on a system already struggling to cope, leading cancer experts have warned.
WHAT can you do to reduce your chances of getting cancer? And what should you do if you are diagnosed with it?
EVERY week, around 500 Scots are diagnosed with cancer. More than 200 different types of cancer have been classified but even within a single cancer type, such as prostate cancer or stomach cancer, there will be variations in the outcome for the patient, depending on how advanced the cancer is when it is detected and how it responds to treatment.
SCOTLAND may have some of the sickest patients in Europe but it also has some of the most prestigious research centres. Scientists here are working at the cutting edge. When it comes to the quality of cancer research, Scotland punches well above its weight.