The ‘unusual’ sign of a cancerous lung tumour the size of a cherry tomato


Having been a heavy smoker for numerous years, Ric didn’t think much of it when he developed a chest infection. “I did usually get winter chest infections maybe once or twice a year,” Ric recalled. But, on one occasion, the chest infection he did have seemed “particularly bad”.

“I had an unusual cough, quite different to the smoker’s cough I had experienced,” Ric remembered.

“It was a rasping cough, which was not a productive cough, despite my chest feeling very congested and having difficulty breathing.”

Ric admitted: “I didn’t think of the possibility that it could be cancer at the time.”

Feeling “unconcerned” when he made an appointment to see his GP, Ric was anticipating “a course of antibiotics to help clear the infection”.

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“But my GP insisted that I go for a chest X-Ray that day, which I did,” Ric told

Advised to finish a course of antibiotics and booked in for another X-ray, doctors noticed a nodule the size of a cherry tomato on Ric’s right lung.

“A few days later I received an appointment to attend the Robert Ogden Macmillan Centre in Harrogate,” said Ric.

“I attended the appointment accompanied by my wife, Christine, and was informed that I would need to have a number of further tests to confirm the diagnosis.”

Following a CT scan, PET scan, and a lung biopsy “in rapid succession”, medics confirmed that Ric had cancer.

Needing to have a lobectomy to remove the tumour, followed by chemotherapy, Ric and Christine “decided to talk everything through with [their] three adult children”.

“I also let all my friends, colleagues and relatives know of my diagnosis,” said Ric.

“And the huge wave of support has been instrumental in my cancer journey being more bearable.”

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Ric shared his own “feeling of apprehension and absolute terror” when he was first handed the lung cancer diagnosis.

“But with a lot of hand-holding, and support from the Macmillan Lung Cancer specialist nurses, I managed to come to terms with the situation,” Ric revealed.

Ric enjoyed 18 months of remission, and then another tumour surfaced, which was successfully defeated.

“I now have a CT scan twice a year and am monitored by the oncologists.”

Ric feels “very fortunate” that his cancer was found “very early” on, and that he is here “almost seven years on from his original diagnosis”.

The family man added: “I am devoted to spreading the word that early diagnosis is crucial to long-term survival on your cancer journey.

“This is why I’m so passionate about supporting NHS England’s ‘Help Us, Help You’ campaign, which encourages anyone who has had a cough for three weeks or more to book an appointment with their GP.

“It’s probably nothing serious, but finding cancer early makes it more treatable.”



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