BATTLE FOR EXPERTS TO BREATHE NEW LIFE
SANDRA Sampson was among 12 lung cancer survivors who addressed Federal Parliament last Thursday in a plea to provide more funding for specialists.
Just one lung cancer expert currently calls WA home and there is a nationwide shortage of specialist nurses.
The Beerliar resident has dedicated her life to the fight to increase awareness and funding.
EIGHT years ago, tests for a lingering cough changed Sandra Sampson’s life forever.
Within a matter of months, she was diagnosed with lung cancer and doctors were forced to remove her right lung.
But rather than wallow in self-pity, the Beeliar resident has turned her journey into a fight for increased awareness and funding.
Ms Sampson was one of 12 lung cancer survivors who addressed Federal Parliament last Thursday in a plea to provide more funding for specialists.
Ms Sampson said it was vital the government provided additional funding for lung cancer specialists and nurses, given there were just 17 experts across the country and only one in WA.
“I was lucky I got access to one because I went via the right oncologist. Even though my journey was difficult, there was a nurse that said ‘I will organise your next appointment and tell you where you need to be’,” she said.
“Even if we can get another 25 nurses and the funding for them, that will take the pressure off a bit and hopefully at least patients will get access to one conversation with a nurse.”
Ms Sampson’s battle with lung cancer began in July 2011, when a lingering cough following a flu jab led to X-rays, CT scans and the dreaded diagnosis.
Three months later, her right lung was removed after doctors discovered tumours. Post-operation, she has been forced to alter many aspects of her life, with exercise restricted and everyday tasks difficult.
“People walk up stairs and don’t think about breathing, but if I’m to do anything, I’m out of breath,” she said. “I struggle with things like cleaning cupboards which are down low, I can’t bend over because my one lung contracts so I don’t get enough air in.”
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