Meet Raymond from Southend
Raymond Butler aged 67 from Southend received a letter inviting him for a Targeted Lung Health Check.
Ray is a retired lorry driver and is born and bred in Southend. He lives in with his disabled wife, is a father to two grown up children and doting grandad to six grandchildren. Ray is keen to share his story to encourage people who may have received an invitation for a FREE lung health check not to delay contacting the Targeted Lung Health Check nurses.
Ray explained “I wasn’t worried when I received my letter inviting me for a free lung health even though I had been a smoker since the age of 15. My older brother had recently gone through the programme and although he is also a smoker he got the all clear so I thought what have I got to lose.”
Following an initial assessment Ray was invited for a CT scan on a mobile scanning vehicle which was situated in the Tesco Supermarket car park. “Having the scan was really quick and easily accessible. I had my scan whilst my wife and daughter went shopping”.
Shortly after the scan Ray received a call from the lung health check team advising that the scan had shown an abnormality and was asked to attend for a further biopsy. When asked about his general health Ray explained “I didn’t have any specific symptoms I suffered with the ‘normal’ smokers cough and continued to smoke until the day I went into hospital. My overall health was ok so when I was told I had stage 1 Lung Cancer and needed further treatment I was a little shocked.”
“The whole experience was really positive. It took three weeks from the biopsy to receiving treatment which resulted in having part of my lung removed. My surgeon contacted me following the treatment and advised it had been successful and there was no need for chemotherapy or radiotherapy, to say I was relieved is an understatement.”
And when asked “Will you ever smoke again?”. Ray replied “Giving up is hard but when I was ill in hospital I took a selfie and now when I fancy a cigarette I take a look at the picture and think ‘I ain’t bloody going though that again’.”
Eight weeks later Ray’s health is back to normal and he continues to do the things he cherishes and loves the most - looking after his wife and six grandchildren.
Ray is keen to encourage others to take up the offer with the following advice. “Go for it – it’s best to get checked. My surgeon said if I hadn’t contacted the lung health check team when I did my prognosis would not have been so favourable”.
To see if you are eligible and to find out more about the Southend Targeted Lung Health Check programme please visit: southendlunghealthcheck.nhs.uk/about-the-lung-health-check-programme.