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Scottish Government – We Are Survivors


Aberdeen husband hails wife as his ‘survivor’, in support of detect cancer early drive IAIN Clark, whose wife was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2013 at the age of 57, has spoken about what her surviving the disease has meant to him.

Iain, 65, from Aberdeen, has become the latest to tell his “My Survivor” story, as part of a campaign to help change the way cancer is viewed and encourage more people to act early if they have concerns.

With research highlighting that fear of a potential cancer diagnosis continues to stop people acting, Detect Cancer Early’s Survivor campaign aims to illustrate that more people are surviving cancer than ever before, and drive home the fact that getting checked early plays a big part.

As part of the campaign, people are being encouraged to join the movement by sharing what a loved one’s cancer survival has meant to them, using #MySurvivor in a bid to tell the other side of the story.

Liz Clark, 62, was diagnosed after visiting her GP about a persistent cough which wouldn’t go away. Liz was sent for further tests which showed a suspected malignant tumour in her right lung.

Iain, who has been married to Liz for almost 42 years, said: “I instantly feared the worst. My first reaction was to think about the worst possible outcome. However, as time goes on, and more and more tests are carried out, you gradually obtain more information each stage of the way and that makes things slightly easier.

“There were good days and bad days. Some days we’d get positive news, like when the MRI showed there was no evidence that the cancer had spread, then sometimes we’d get more bad news and it would all hit home again. I was constantly going between a state of hope and fear.”

Liz was scheduled in for surgery to remove the bottom lobe of her right lung, but during the operation, surgeons realised it wasn’t as clear cut as they had hoped, and they had to remove the whole lung.

Liz said: “Because they’d taken out the whole lung and the cancer hadn’t spread, I didn’t need to have any subsequent treatment. It took me a while to fully recover, and it became quite obvious as the months went on that I wouldn’t be able to go back to my work.”

Iain added: “I was amazed at how resilient she was throughout everything. You think you know someone as well as you possibly can, but it isn’t until they go through something like this that their character is truly tested. I couldn’t believe quite how strong she was.

“I really appreciate how much having her enhances my life. I feel so lucky I’m able to enjoy every moment with her, and we can look forward to things together, like the holiday to New Zealand we’re going on later this month. I’m so grateful we can enjoy experiences like that together. Without Liz my life would be completely different.”

Liz said: “My family were absolutely terrific. I couldn’t have done it without them. I’m so grateful my husband Iain was there for me every step of the way. Cancer can be a terrifying experience, but I feel like I’ve come out the other end now and I’m happy to share my story with other people to show you can have a positive outcome.”

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