We’ve all had those coughs that just won’t go away, you think you’ve got rid of it and then something sets you off and you’re hacking away, getting hot with your face turning red. How long do you put up with it before getting help?
Lung cancer is one of the UK’s biggest killers and also has one of the lowest survival rates. In Leeds around 500 people per year are diagnosed with lung cancer, which can be treated successfully if diagnosed early. That’s why it’s important to get a check to rule out cancer or other serious diseases. Well, if you are over 50 you can go to a walk-in clinic for a free chest x-ray. We spoke to Jackie and Noleen to find out what inspired them to get a check.
Jackie lives in Harehills, Leeds: she is a very active person who walks a lot and is an enthusiastic gardener. Five years ago Jackie took part in a Feel Good Factor community health educator course and now she visits hospitals, GP surgeries, temples, mosques and churches to deliver information and chats about Feel Good Factor, health campaigns and classes. One of the health campaigns is “got a cough, get a check”.
I chatted with Jackie about how the “Got a cough campaign” affected her.
Jackie: “I had a cough which just wouldn’t go away. Thanks to my Feel Good Factor training I knew what options were open to me: there were 3 Leeds walk-in clinics that I could go to for a chest x-ray without waiting for my GP to refer me. The only problem was I was really worried – what if the test revealed I had cancer? I wasn’t sure I could cope with that.
Fortunately I was able to talk to Jaki Carol, my Feel Good Factor mentor, who reassured me it would be worth going through the anxiety to find out. I felt that whatever may happen going for the x-ray was the best thing to do and even if it turned out the worst possible news the earlier I got a diagnosis the better it would be.
So, overcoming my initial worry I plucked up the courage to go to Seacroft Hospital for a chest x-ray.
The nursing staff there really impressed me they were so welcoming and helpful. The x-ray itself was quick and didn’t hurt and I felt pleased to have done it. And it was only about 2 weeks later that I got the good news that there wasn’t anything to worry about. I was really happy.
I would encourage anyone over 50 with a cough for three weeks or more to go and get a chest x-ray – it’s really easy, doesn’t take long and you get the results quickly. However worried you are about the results its worth a bit of anxiety to find out the truth. The chances are that there is nothing to worry about”.
Debra Kerr, Communications Officer, Leeds City Council
Hannah Goulbourne, Communications Officer met up with Noleen for a chat about why she’d decided to get a check.
Noleen is 78 and lives in Chapel Allerton. She regularly volunteers for Feel Good Factor and three years ago she decided to get her persistent cough checked out. I chatted to her to find out more about her experience.
Noleen: “I had had a cough for quite a long time on and off and when I saw the free chest x-ray service advertised at Feel Good Factor I decided to go for it. This was about three years ago now. I have asthma and so if I’ve had a cold it tends to settle on my chest which can cause me to develop a cough.
I went to Seacroft hospital. I saw somebody when I first went in and they gave me a form to fill in, which just asked general questions about me and how long I had had the cough for etc. Once I had done that, I then went to have my x-ray. The whole process was really quick and easy. I think it was the radiographer that came in to do the test and then I went and sat back out in the waiting room once they had finished. I got the results the same day and so it was all really quick.
My results came back all clear. I felt OK. I felt relieved actually, but then again I had not been overly concerned when I went to have the test done. As I said, I do suffer with asthma and so I expected my cough to just be to do with that. They just told me there was nothing to worry about and it should clear up soon.
To encourage others I would say to definitely get a cough checked out. What’s the point of not taking advantage of this free service? The beauty of it is that you can just walk straight in. There is no need to book an appointment. I have a bit of a cough now as you can hear so I probably will go back to Seacroft to get it checked out again just to be on the safe side”.
Thanks Jackie and Noleen.
Addresses of the three clinics:
X-Ray Department, Seacroft Hospital,York Road, Leeds, LS14 6UH
Monday to Friday 9.30am to 4.30pm or
St George’s Centre, St George’s Road,Middleton, LS10 4UZ
Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm or
Leeds Chest Clinic X-Ray Department,Martin Wing, Leeds General Infirmary,Great George Street, LS1 3EX Monday to Friday 9am to 4.30pm