A Lancashire mum who has never smoked was shocked to discover she had lung cancer. She talks about how her diagnosis and treatment spurred her and her family to take part in a fundraising challenge.
Louise Finch has never smoked and exercises regularly, so when she was told she had lung cancer she was shocked.
But the mother-of-two has adenocarcinoma, which is often found in non-smokers and is the most common form of lung cancer found in women.
Louise, of New Longton, near Preston, says: “I had just celebrated my 40th birthday in September and life had never been better when I was told I had lung cancer a month later.
“After running, I would get this pathetic little cough and I had some pain in my left shoulder, which I put down to the gym.
“But when I went to the doctors, I was sent to have an X-ray and doctors found a large mass on my lung.
“My heart broke at the news.
“I have never smoked a single cigarette in my life and I have always exercised. I like to keep fit and run.
“My diagnosis came as a huge shock. I felt angry and scared but I have come to realise what an amazing facility we have on our doorstep in the Rosemere Cancer Centre.
“Everyone who works there, from the volunteers who offer me a drink to the nurses who put up with my tears when they need to take blood as I have a needle phobia, are angels in disguise and I want to make sure it can continue being there for people in the future.
“My lungs are strong as I do a lot of running and this is helping my treatment.
“In November, I started a targeted oral drug therapy which controls and reduces the cancer which has been fantastic and appears to be working well.”
Spurred on by Rosemere’s care, the mum-of-two decided to compete in the 17km Kentmere Trail Challenge, which climbs from Staveley village up Reston Scar.
Her partner, Daniel McParland, brothers Dean, Ivan and Simon, joined her, while brother Darren and sisters Natalie and Soraya did the 10km trail.
She also enlisted the support of younger family members as her seven-year-old daughter Isabelle, nine-year-old nephews Harrison and Mason and nieces Jessica, eight, Macy, 14, and four-year-old Anaiya completed the children’s fun run, with everyone cheered on by Louise’s eldest daughter Darcy, 18, mum Jackie, stepdad Dan and close family and friends.
Louise adds: “I was quite emotional on completing the trail. What made it great for me was that my partner in life and run buddy Daniel was there and I had fantastic support from my six siblings, some of who had never run before.
“My brother Dean is a serving soldier and had taken leave to run shoulder-to-shoulder with me.
“To think they undertook this challenge and step outside of their comfort zone, just to support me, was simply amazing.
“We had a big family get-together at my mum’s afterwards and celebrated with champagne.”
Their efforts raised almost £4,000 for Rosemere Cancer Foundation’s 20 Years Anniversary Appeal.
Louise also took part in the Edinburgh Marathon.
Amy Hilton, Rosemere Cancer Foundation’s central area fund-raising co-ordinator, says: “It’s truly fantastic what Louise and her family have achieved.
“They took on an event that was by no means a walk in the park. We are extremely grateful for their donation.”
Rosemere’s 20th Anniversary Appeal launched in March to celebrate two decades since the opening of Lancashire Teaching Hospital’s Rosemere Cancer Centre in Preston.
It has an ambitious £1.5m target to equip the centre with the world’s most advanced robotic surgical system to enable more patients to undergo keyhole rather than open surgery.
It also plans to fund a state-of-the-art research facility to give more of its patients the opportunity to participate in clinical trials and to the modernisation of its in-patient Ribblesdale Ward.
• For further information on the appeal and how to donate, visit http://www.rosemere.org.uk
• Adenocarcinoma is the most common form of lung cancer found in women and is often found in never smokers and non-smokers.
• It is also the most common type of lung cancer in people under the age of 45 and the most common type of lung cancer among Asians.
• Because lung adenocarcinoma often begins in the outer parts of the lungs, well-known symptoms of lung cancer such as a chronic cough and coughing up blood may be less common until later in the disease.
• Early signs and symptoms of lung adenocarcinoma that may be overlooked may include fatigue, mild shortness of breath, or achiness in your back, shoulder, or chest.
• Since the symptoms are often vague and this cancer often occurs in people not expected to develop lung cancer such as young people and never smokers, the diagnosis is often delayed for many weeks to months.