Friday, June 14, 2024


These are the inspiring thoughts of Killough’s Sharon Dinu, who is living with stage four lung cancer. Diagnosed during the Covid-19 pandemic, Sharon spoke of how she received the news. “I didn’t want to know anything else. I have this, the cancer, but I’m going to come out the other side, I have too much to live for,” she said. “I started my treatment at the Ulster Hospital. I never had an appointment cancelled throughout Covid.” Sharon received her last treatment in March and a scan in August of this year showed that her condition was now “static”. “I have never let the diagnosis stop me, I have got on with my life and I know that that can be a different story for everybody, for me I just wanted to make the best of it. “I said from day one the cancer wasn’t taking me. I know you’ve only got one life and you’ve got to give the best you can, to grab everything you can with both hands and enjoy the time with your family.”

Since March of this year, Sharon has pulled on her dry robe and taken to her local beach with her ‘Daily Dose of Sanity’ cold water swimming group to immerse body and head space in the seawater. “I used to go down and watch the group. “At the time I couldn’t take part as I had a PICC line in. “The girls would have told me how much they got out of being in the water.” Sharon recalls: “I got the PICC line out on a Wednesday and I was cold water swimming on Saturday – I haven’t looked back since, I try to do it every day. “When you go into the water you think of nothing else, you don’t think about the cancer – your mind just clears.” When asked if she could offer one piece of advice to anyone going through or living with a cancer diagnosis, Sharon simply replied: “I try to be positive and try to be strong. “I said to not fight it, if you fight something it fights back. “I have cancer, I live with cancer, I know I’ll never be free of it, it’s treatable, it’s not curable! “I am so lucky to have the support of my family around me.”

Sharon and the group have been braving the sea temperatures ahead of their planned Christmas Day swim to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support. “We have started a Just Giving page ahead of Christmas Day when we will do our swim for MacMillan.”

Clinical Lead for Lung Cancer and Consultant Respiratory Physician, Dr Stephen Rowan highlighted the importance of recognising the symptoms to look out for and said: “Lung cancer frequently presents at a late stage, so it is vital that we pick up lung cancer early to maximise the best opportunity for treatment and care. “Worldwide, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths. “Common symptoms to look out for are a persistent or new cough (usually for more than three weeks), a change in a chronic cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, or some blood in your sputum. “Less common symptoms are a loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss. “If you have any of these symptoms, you should attend your GP and do not be afraid to ask for a chest x-ray. “Smoking is the most important risk factor for lung cancer. “If you are a smoker, this is a good opportunity to try and stop. “There are a range of resources that you can take advantage of. “It is most important to remember that not everyone who gets lung cancer is a smoker. “If you have lungs, you can get lung cancer. If you have any worries or concerns, make sure you get checked out.”

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