The summer of 2002 turned out to be an important time for Pirzada Ahmed, 63. He made a pilgrimage to Mecca and he made a decision that saved his life. Shortly before leaving for Saudi Arabia, Pirzada developed a cough. It worsened during the trip abroad which prompted him to go to his GP as soon as he returned to London. “It wasn’t even a very bad cough,” says Pirzada, from Manor Park. “But I thought I should get it checked out.”
The GP referred him for a chest x-ray which took place at Newham Hospital and from there he was referred for a biopsy at The London Chest Hospital. Lung cancer was diagnosed and he had a lobectomy to remove a tumour from his right lung in December 2002. Pirzada, a non-smoker, has been fit and well since the surgery. He is now retired from his job at the Commonwealth Secretariat and is enjoying spending time with his large family. He has six sons, a daughter and four grandchildren.
“I know people within my community (the Bangladeshi community) who have a cough but do not go to the doctor,” he says. “They say it is something trivial and will go away, but my message is that you must go to the GP, because it is spotting these things early that can make all the difference”.
If you have had a cough for more than three weeks, you need to see your GP now, even if you think it’s just a smoker’s cough.
It could be something serious such as cancer. Spotting it early could save your life.