'I didn't fit the typical profile of someone with lung cancer'

Peter Quinn was diagnosed with lung cancer after visiting his GPwith pain and swelling in his knees.

"My symptoms were quite unusual for lung cancer. It began with a swelling on my knee, so I went to my GP, who X-rayed them. There was nothing structurally wrong, so he gave me some anti-inflammatory drugs.

"It didnt seem to improve the situation. I have two small children, so Im up and down on my knees quite a bit, and it was becoming quite painful.

"I went to see a rheumatologist, who gave me a complete examination and checked my knees and my fingers. She noticed that my hands had digital clubbing, which is a swelling of the ends of the fingers.

"As a precaution, she ordered a chest X-ray, because this condition could be a sign of chest problems, such as bronchitis. 15 minutes later she came back with the X-ray, which showed I had a huge shadow on my right lung.

"I was referred to a chest physician, who did some further tests. Those confirmed I had a syndrome called hyper pulmonary osteoarthritis (HPOA), where the lining of the bones becomes thick. It'soften associated with non-small-cell lung cancer.

"80% of lung cancer cases are linked with smoking. I smoked 15 years ago, but I hadnt for many years because of the children.I didn't fit the typical profile of a lung cancer sufferer who smokes20-40 cigarettes a day.

"In the right lung you have three lobes. Surgeons cut a hole in my back and removed one of the lobes and basically joined it back together. They probably removed about a third of my right lung. But about four weeks after surgery, I was feeling better.

"I didnt have any major side effects from chemotherapy, so I was quite fit and active. But radiotherapy made my oesophagus very inflamed and it was incredibly painful for me to swallow.

"One of the things I found most helpful was the cancer nurse specialists. Theyre available at many hospitals and act as a support and link between you and the medical machinery.They were excellent atbeing sympathetic, answering questions and giving helpful advice.

"I would suggest that anyone going through the same thing should use all of the available resources and try to find something positive to focus on."

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Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 30 Nov 2016