Lung cancer survivors and families of patients unveil special moments since diagnoses
"For a great many lung cancer survivors there is a stigma attached to lung cancer."
Lung cancer patients and those who have lost someone to the disease have come together to share some significant and special moments in their lives that have largely been affected by the condition.
Seven Irish lung cancer patients and families filled memento jars with memories this week, illustrating the extra time they have gained as a result of early intervention and treatment.
Some of the touching memories from family members also detailed the things they may have missed since a loved one was diagnosed with, and sadly passed away from, the disease.
Today's exhibition, Making Moments Matter, was hosted by Marie Keating Foundation as part of their new campaign for Lung Cancer Awareness Month 2019.
The charity want to raise awareness for the significant moments that can be saved through early intervention - as well as the importance of "extra time" due to the poor survival rates associated with the disease.
Just 20 percent of patients will be alive five years after a lung cancer diagnosis. The disease kills more people than colorectal cancer and breast cancer combined.
Miriam Payne, lung cancer survivor and Making Moments Matter ambassador, said her lung cancer was diagnosed "almost by accident."
"I am one of the lucky ones," she said.
"I really do count my blessings that my cancer was caught early and after surgery I haven’t required any further treatment and have been well since.
"I think for a great many lung cancer survivors there is a stigma attached to lung cancer and I certainly have felt embarrassed to tell people in the past."
Miriam added that she hopes to help tackle the stigma still associated with lung cancer in Ireland, and that she is grateful for the extra time she has gained.
Today's exhibition took place in the Temple Bar Gallery in Dublin.
Curated by artist Steven Farrell, who also helped each participant to create their own memento jar, the event detailed the importance of a renewed public discussion around lung cancer in Ireland.
Marie Keating Foundation CEO Liz Yeates said that people need to be aware of the symptoms of the disease to avail of treatment as soon as possible.
“It is very important to highlight how treatment, intervention and early diagnosis can all play a part in allowing patients more time, which in turn translates into more meaningful moments they get to enjoy with their families, their loved ones, or for themselves," she said.
"The birth of a grandchild, a Christmas with the family, a trip to a new destination – it’s impossible to put a figure on how much these moments are worth.”
Symptoms of lung cancer include:
- A cough that won't go away
- Shortness of breath
- A change in a cough (one that has become painful, changed its sound, or one that brings up mucus)
- Coughing up blood
- A shoulder or chest ache
- Ongoing chest infections
You can find out more about lung cancer on the Marie Keating Foundation's website here.
If you are in any way concerned about your health, you should always consult your GP.