Persistent cough or breathless? North Walsham man helps national Be Clear on Cancer campaign

Bill Stubley. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Bill Stubley. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

A North Walsham man is among survivors and celebrities spearheading a new NHS campaign highlighting symptoms of lung and heart diseases.

Bill Stubley features in a Be Clear On Cancer Youtube video talking about his diagnosis with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The campaign urges anyone with a persistent cough which has lasted more than three weeks, or who gets out of breath doing things they used to do easily, to make an appointment with their doctor.

The symptoms may be a sign of lung cancer, COPD or heart disease and early treatment could save lives.

Others featured in the video include the widow of non-smoking entertainer Roy Castle, who died of lung cancer, and TV and radio presenter Gloria Hunniford, whose family has a history of heart disease.

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Mr Stubley, 69, of Cromer Road, says his prompt diagnosis and treatment have allowed him to get on with life.

'I used to put my breathlessness down to age, or because I was overweight,' he said.

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But when he suddenly had difficulty breathing and felt 'absolutely terrible' while doing DIY at home about eight years ago, he visited his doctor the next day.

His lung capacity was found to be only half of what it should have been. A chest x-ray was clear and he was diagnosed with COPD, which he had never heard of before.

'I took all the professionals' advice,' Mr Stubley said.

This included attending a rehabilitation programme at Kelling Hospital, near Holt.

And he signed up for a Lung Club, at his local Victory gym in North Walsham, taking part in weekly exercise sessions.

He has since lost about three stone, feels better than he did before he was ill, can do everything he used to do, and controls his condition with the use of a thrice-daily inhaler.

'COPD will get me in the end, but knowing how to manage your complaint stops you being scared of it,' he said.

And he urged anyone else with symptoms to follow his example, and see their GP as soon as possible.

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