A COWLERSLEY woman with terminal lung cancer is helping to raise awareness of the disease.
Diane Singh, 38, of Kinder Avenue, is telling her story as part of Lung Cancer Awareness Month, a campaign run by the Macmillan Cancer Relief charity.
Mrs Singh discovered she had lung cancer last October.
She suffered persistent colds throughout last year. In September she went to her GP with pains in her chest and breathing problems.
Antibiotics failed, so she had X-rays and tests, which showed a cancerous lung tumour.
Mrs Singh underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy and is in remission, which means the cancer is dormant but not cured.
She said the unpleasant therapy was worth it.
She said: "When you have a young child, you are better off taking the therapy to lengthen your life."
Mrs Singh has a nine-year-old son, Dominic.
She added: "My husband found it very, very hard to come to terms with. I didn't know how to tell Dominic, but he coped well."
Mrs Singh's cancer was caused by smoking, as are 80 to 90% of the 40,000 lung cancer cases each year.
Research shows that every cigarette shortens a smoker's life by nine minutes.
Mrs Singh has now given up, but smoked 15 to 20 cigarettes a day since her schooldays, stopping for just five months several years ago.
She said: "I regret starting again. For me it's too late, but if someone who's OK now stops smoking, they should be safe.
"If people have children, they really should think about it.
"Last year, I went to my son's Christmas concert and wondered how many more I would see. It is the hardest thought that he will have to grow up without me."
Mrs Singh has come to terms with her situation, helped greatly by specialist Macmillan lung cancer nurse Helen Jones at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.
Mrs Jones said her role was to offer advice about treatment, the disease and to liaise with a range of services to help the patient.
She added: "Lung cancer is bad news. If a person if fit and the tumour localised you can give treatment to cure it.
"It is important to catch it early. By the time people go to the doctors it is quite advanced, because they just write it off as a bad chest.
"If you have symptoms, get them checked."
After her experience, Mrs Singh agrees with this.
She said: "If you feel you have a chest infection - especially if you smoke - get it checked as soon as possible and take the advice and treatment you are offered."
Symptoms of lung cancer include having a cough for more than three weeks, recurring chest infections, unusual tiredness, coughing up blood, feeling out of breath, loss of voice, chest pains, loss of weight and swelling in the face and neck.
Information leaflets about lung cancer are being distributed to doctors' surgeries and hospitals around the area this month.
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