Lung Cancer: James Brokenshire Urges Men To Get Symptoms Checked Out

16 November 2018, 14:03 | Updated: 16 November 2018, 15:32

James Brokenshire gave a passionate plea to men to go to the doctors if they suffer any unusual symptoms to ensure they can catch cancer early.

The MP was forced to resign as Northern Ireland Secretary at the start of this year after being diagnosed with lung cancer. He has since made a full recovery and returned to the Cabinet as the Communities Secretary.

It started when he had one single incident of coughing and spotting blood in his tissue. He decided to get it checked out and that could have been the decision that saved his life.

Speaking to Iain Dale on LBC, he spoke of the time he had to miss Brexit negotiations because he was getting checked out.

James Brokenshire in the LBC studio
James Brokenshire in the LBC studio. Picture: LBC

He said: "I had an interesting conversation on the night that the Prime Minister was the following morning flying out to conclude the first phase of the deal to say 'Sorry I'm not around in the morning, I'm off to have a bronchoscopy.

"But that sense of putting your health first and it being more important than work ensured that I followed through on that treatment."

Mr Brokenshire is one of the 15% of lung cancer victims that don't smoke and said he wanted to try to urge other men to go to the doctor.

He added: "I want to talk about it, to make a difference, to see that we can have a proper debate and discussion on it.

"I hope by doing so, with the number of lung cancer cases that we see each year, if it gets one or two people to come forward and go to the doctor to get checked out, then I feel that is a good thing."

Lung Cancer: What Are The Symptoms To Watch For?

Dr David Gilligan from the Roy Castle Lung Foundation told LBC: "Coughing up blood is one of the key symptoms for someone who might have lung cancer.

"Others can include a cough which doesn't go away, loss of weight, increasing breathlessness.

"All of those are non-specific and could be other things, but it's important to get them checked out.

"James is a good example of someone who did get checked out and faced the horrible recognition that there might be something wrong. It's easy to ignore it, put your head in the sand and hope it goes away.

"But actually, it's really important to go and get it checked out.

"One of the great fears people have is that nothing can be done. But actually, the earlier you go to get checked out, the better the outlook, the better the prognosis."