A Patient’s Story: My CANDID Experience
Dietmar: Coventry City Football Legend
Research tells us that men are less likely than women to access NHS services; sometimes this means they may already have advanced cancer symptoms before they visit their GP.
The majority of patients who come to their doctor with lung e.g. cough, or bowel symptoms e.g. loose stool, do not have anything seriously wrong. However, a very few people are at risk of cancer. This study aims to help doctors diagnose cancer quickly so that potential high risk patients are detected sooner and unnecessary examinations are minimised for those patients that are low risk. This research is about finding what symptoms and examinations are best for predicting lung and bowel cancer.
Did you know anything about research before taking part?
Nothing at all, the advantages of taking part in research were pointed out to me by my doctor when I visited him for my constant coughing for over three weeks.
Why did you consult your doctor?
My cough came on suddenly, I thought I was going to get a cold so wasn’t too concerned, although it did get progressively worse and then I happened to see an article in a national newspaper advising anyone not to ignore a persistent cough that has lasted more than three weeks, but to see their GP and get checked out.
As an ex-professional footballer, I am accustomed to having very regular medical attention and check-ups so the thought of seeing my GP held no fears.
“I would advise all young and old men not to be afraid . . . go and get checked out . . . thinking it will be alright and will go away could be fatal.”
Sadly, three people very close to me thought the problem would go away, and I lost all three, including my wife, Maureen, who was only 51 when she passed away with leukaemia. She was constantly tired and lacking energy but thought it was because she was working hard and that it would be OK soon. I insisted she seek help and took her to see her GP. She received excellent attention from the NHS, a first class organisation; she had blood tests and x-rays that confirmed she had leukaemia, and her therapy started immediately. Three months later she passed away.
Why I joined the study
From my experience, there were no downsides to participation in research. As anticipated, I was tested, x-rayed and was generally well looked-after; I also had the advantage that I would find out more about my body and learn more about my condition. Fortunately, my outcome was good.
“I would most certainly recommend it . . . it makes you feel good to know and understand . . . “
I would certainly be prepared to take part in another study: the more you know about yourself the better, such knowledge could be very important. Participation in research is something that I would wholeheartedly recommend to family and friends. My own health is important to me, I always try to make sure I keep myself fit by doing exercises, swimming, healthy eating and keeping my weight down.
“Health research means so much to me, it shows how much the NHS is trying to help by making us aware of the importance of keeping healthy and fit [and by] giving us good advice. “