A GRANDMOTHER whose skiing accident helped catch her lung cancer has warned people not to assume a persistent cough is down to coronavirus.

Angela Terry, from Chipping Norton, was diagnosed with the disease in January 2019.

She said: “It came completely out of the blue. We were skiing in Austria and I suffered a peculiar fall. One minute I was upright, then the next, I was on the ground and I’d hurt my shoulder."

The 66-year-old, who had her chest x-rayed during her visit to hospital, said: "Thank goodness they did, because that’s when they spotted the lung cancer."

ALSO READ: Latest Covid hotspots in Oxford and Oxfordshire

Unfortunately, though it was initially believed the cancer had been caught early and a surgery in Austria would be enough this proved not to be the case. She said: "When I got back to the UK, I had a scan of my whole abdomen and they discovered another lesion in my back which meant I went from being classed as ‘Stage 1, curable’ to ‘Stage 4, palliative care’ - which was a huge shock.

"I asked the oncologist if it was going to kill me, and he was very honest. He said, ‘Probably, at some point, yes it will kill you'."

Ms Terry said she would lie in bed at night thinking about all the things she may never do again but she eventually was able to get a second opinion which gave more hope.

ALSO READ: Coronavirus vaccine could be cleared as safe for use soon

She said: "During one appointment with my oncologist, we discussed my treatment options. I got the sense that he wanted to try a radical treatment, but it wasn’t available at that particular hospital.

"By this time, it had been three months and I still hadn’t had treatment which was crazy because the cancer was in there, probably growing. That’s when I thought I needed a second opinion.

Oxford Mail:

"I was worried about asking, because my oncologist and my lung cancer nurses were fantastic, and I didn’t want to upset them because they were lovely people. But this was my health, my life, I had to put that first."

She added: "Had I not taken charge of my diagnosis, I think I would have been in real trouble, whereas I’m now on my daily targeted therapy tablet which is keeping my cancer at bay. I’ve now had four clear scans. It’s not going away but, equally, it’s not doing anything naughty in my body."

ALSO READ: Two new Covid deaths in county

Getting the cancer under control has given Ms Terry, who has been married to husband Robert for 44 years, more time to spend with her loved ones. She said: "Now, there’s nothing I can’t do. Matilda was born five months ago, so I’ve been able to hold my first grandchild.

"My son is getting married next July, so life’s great. I’m playing golf. I’m gardening. I’m walking. I know at some point the disease will progress, but for now I’m living my life.”

She is also supporting Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation's ‘Still Here’ campaign, urging people to act fast if they notice symptoms which concern them.

ALSO READ: Daily Covid Oxford and Oxfordshire figures

Paula Chadwick, the charity’s chief executive, said: "All cancers have felt the devastation of the pandemic, but lung cancer faces an additional obstacle given that one of its most common symptoms – a persistent cough – is so often linked to Covid-19. For months, people with a cough followed the government’s ‘stay at home’ message. While this was essential to stop the spread of coronavirus, now it’s vital people feel able to go to their doctor if the cough persists, or if it’s accompanied by other common lung cancer symptoms, such as breathlessness, unexplained tiredness, coughing up blood or weight loss."