“I’m supporting the campaign so that no one has to lose their parent, partner or grandparent to lung cancer.”

“In 2016, I lost my mum to lung cancer. In many ways it still feels so recent, as if time had stood still. But it hasn’t, and every day I am reminded of the conversations I miss, the hugs and that my children have to grow up without a Nan. However, I am also very grateful for the time we had following her diagnosis. The time during her treatment was some of the best moments and no words were left unsaid.”

“My mum hid her symptoms, a cough for a while, and having been a smoker she was scared and worried about what would be said. One day I noticed that her fingers were swollen, at the time I was working as a Macmillan Benefits Advisor and helped hundreds of patients gain vital financial support, so I was familiar with the symptoms of cancer. I urged her to speak with her doctor, knowing this finger clubbing was a warning. We then noticed her back pain was worsening and she developed a large lump. A GP appointment led to an X-ray and a scan which found that she had lung cancer which had spread. Whilst we knew that sadly it was too late to be cured, she was given treatment that reduced the tumours and managed her symptoms so she was able to have longer with us and a better quality of life. That time was so precious and I thank the health professionals every day for giving us that.”

“Sadly too many people are diagnosed late, scared like my mum or not knowing the symptoms. Some people are worried about losing money or work and others worried about what their family or community may think. Covid-19 has made this more difficult for many and risks of health inequalities have widened. But whatever the worry, there are options and help, with the most amazing people and charities to support. I don’t know if going earlier when mum’s cough started would mean she would still be here today, but I do know that seeing a GP earlier would have given her a better chance, more time and more laughter.”

We are working with Sussex NHS and others to raise awareness of lung cancer symptoms amongst communities in Crawley, and making sure everyone knows the range of support that is out there.

To find out more about our Lung Cancer Awareness project, see here.


Emma Cross is Chief Executive Officer at Citizens Advice in West Sussex (North, South, East). Emma worked as a Macmillan Benefits Advisor and managing cancer services, before joining Macmillan Cancer Support to support patients and carers with services.