Friends celebrate good health

Cath McGill (L) and Cath Johnstone (R)  both received an early cancer diagnosis and were treated succesfully.
Cath McGill (L) and Cath Johnstone (R) both received an early cancer diagnosis and were treated succesfully.

Two friends who survived cancer thanks to early detection joined together to mark World Cancer Day last week.

Cath McGill and Cath Johnstone, friends for almost 30 years, have shared their stories in a bid to encourage people to get checked if they have a potential sign or symptom, or to attend screening when invited.

The pair, who celebrated milestone birthdays last year, both went to their GP to seek advice after noticing a change to their health, and credit early detection with their successful outcome, with the women now looking to the future.

Cath McGill, 50, from Gorebridge, was diagnosed with lung cancer in July 2015, aged 45, after seeing her GP about a persistent cough – a symptom she recalled being highlighted in the Scottish Government’s Sir Alex Ferguson lung cancer campaign. Following diagnosis, Cath underwent surgery to remove the tumour.

Cath Johnstone, 60, from Newtongrange, was diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2018 after visiting her GP with concerns about an inverted nipple. She had a mastectomy at the end of September 2018, followed by a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

More people in Scotland are surviving cancer than ever before, and the Scottish Government’s Detect Cancer Early programme, running since 2012, has made progress in increasing the proportion of early stage diagnoses of bowel, breast and lung cancer in Scotland.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman marked World Cancer Day by reflecting on the strides made in Scotland over the past year to improve the prevention, detection, diagnosis, treatment and after care for people affected by cancer.”

Cath McGill said:“I go for checks every six months and have an annual CT scan and everything has been fine since. Without a doubt, the TV campaign was what prompted me to go to my doctors. I feel really fortunate that it was caught early enough to be treated.”

Cath Johnstone added:“I’m so grateful to still be here and to spend time with my three grandchildren – they all try and help in their own way.

“I’m still tired and have some tightening after my radiotherapy, but surviving cancer has made me much more positive than I was before. For your own piece of mind, get yourself checked out if you’re worried, and trust the doctors.”

For more information and advice on what to do if you have any concerns visit the helpful website at: www.getcheckedearly.org.