Lung cancer symptom non-smoker ignored

A Brisbane mother’s lung cancer symptoms were masked by her pregnancy for months, and she almost discovered the deadly disease too late. Now she’s warning other mothers to not make the same mistake and get tested early.

Samantha Bladwell thought something was wrong when she was 30 weeks pregnant. But she thought it was to do with the baby. She never imagined it was cancer.

Whenever she walked up a hill to get to her Brisbane home, the healthy 36-year-old would become short of breath and reach the top panting.

It turned out to be stage four lung cancer.

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Mrs Bladwell decided enough was enough after she was giving a presentation at work and struggled to speak because of shortness of breath.

She took herself to the doctor.

Her GP said it was probably nothing to worry about but sent her off to get tests.

After a CT Scan, a biopsy and a conversation with a series of specialists she was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer – in both lungs, her spine and her brain.

Right up until the detection, Mrs Bladwell had convinced herself it was probably just the baby, or even a blood clot.

“It was very surreal, and all a bit of a blur,” she told Kidspot.

Mrs Bladwell, now 38, is sharing her story so others don’t make the same mistakes.

She blamed her shortness of breath on the expected baby, and also assumed lung cancer patients were older people who had spent their lives smoking.

Mrs Bladwell has never smoked a cigarette in her life. It’s an assumption she has to defend every time she explains her situation to someone.

“People assume if you’ve got lung cancer, you smoke, so it’s your fault. I’ve never smoked a cigarette in my life,” she said.

‘The truth is anyone with lungs can get lung cancer. No-one deserves to have lung cancer, it’s horrible.”

The mother-of-two believes the stigma against lung cancer patients is impacting the fundraising efforts for research into lifesaving treatments.

She has been undergoing targeted therapy, which works to specifically kill the cancer-causing cells.

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