‘I wouldn’t be here now’ - how a TV advert about lung cancer saved this woman’s life

A mum from South Tyneside who beat lung cancer has told of how a TV advert saved her life.

By Verity Ward
Monday, 06 May, 2019, 06:00

Pat Chapman, from Jarrow, went to see her doctor when she saw an advert advising people with a persistent cough to have it checked out.

The 51-year-old said: “I’d seen the advert about lung cancer and how anyone with a cough for more than three weeks should go and see their doctor. If I hadn’t seen that advert, I wouldn’t be here now.”

Pat Chapman's lung cancer was diagnosed in time

Pat was sent for tests including x-rays and a biopsy following a visit to her GP, and she given a lung cancer diagnosis in March 2015.

She said: “At that point, my whole world fell apart but I also remember being told that the cancer was still operable. It as a lot to take in, and it scary to think about surgery and chemotherapy.”

When Pat, and her husband Edward, were told the news at South Tyneside District Hospital, a Macmillan lung clinical nurse specialist was also on hand to provide support.

Pat said: “Jo Battenbo was my Macmillan nurse and she was worth her weight in gold. She was there for me from the moment I was diagnosed and all the way through.”

The mum-of-three went onto be treated at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, where she had three quarters of her right lung removed, as well as four ribs and part of her chest wall.

Six weeks later, she began four cycles of chemotherapy.

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“I was in hospital for nine days”, said Pat, “and then I started chemotherapy. It was hard, but it had to happen for me to survive. Today, I have pain in my side and there are some things I can’t do anymore – like cycling or pegging the washing on the line – but it’s a small price to pay.”

Pat has shared her story to highlight International Nurses Day on May 12 and encourage others to get checked out.

She said: “I had been a smoker when I was younger but had given up years before. I was told the cancer I had can affect anyone, whether they’ve been a smoker or not.

“I would say to anyone who’s had a cough for more than three weeks to go and see their doctor and get it checked out.

“I am glad I got to see my daughter marry and my son graduate from university. I am forever thankful to all the people involved in treatment and my recovery.”

Jane Curry, fundraising manager for Macmillan said: It’s really is lovely to hear a positive story, and how the support Pat received from Jo her Macmillan nurse made all the difference to her and her family. 

“It really does go to show that the support from local people fundraising, holding their own events, does come back and support people living in our community.”

To find out more about supporting Macmillan in South Tyneside, and fund local services, Jane Curry on 07809 554 959 or email jcurry@macmillan.org.uk