Cancer discovered by accident

Snez Plunkett says radiation was “a horrible experience”.
Snez Plunkett says radiation was “a horrible experience”.

ROCKINGHAM woman Snez Plunkett said if just one person decides to quit smoking after reading her story then it will have been worth it.

The 55-year-old grandmother was a smoker for 35 years and said it took being diagnosed with lung cancer to get her to finally stop.

“I was terribly addicted and found it almost impossible to stop, having attempted many, many times,” she said.

“(Readers) will hope it doesn’t happen to them, but it probably will if they keep smoking. Most smokers will get cancer. Most of those that do get cancer will not live for long. If that isn’t an incentive to stop, I don’t know what is.”

Ms Plunkett found out she had cancer almost by accident. After going to hospital with chest pains, she found out she’d had a heart attack.

“I was out in the sun in late December and had some chest pains that went on for a while,” she said.

“I took myself to the hospital and found that I had had a small heart attack.

“They did many tests to find out the cause and in the process found a suspicious lump on my lungs and referred me for more tests elsewhere.”

Her diagnosis was Stage 3A lung cancer, which had spread to two lymph nodes.

“It scared the hell out of me when I found out I had (lung cancer) and I just wanted it out of my body,” she said.

“I opted for surgery in the first instance which was to be followed by chemotherapy.

“When I recovered from surgery, I chose to have chemo-radiation believing that to be the most effective option given the circumstances. That was a pretty horrible experience, especially the radiation.”

Ms Plunkett is currently recovering and “free of cancer”, but knows the chances of it returning are high.

“If just one person quits as a result of reading my story, it’ll be worth sharing it,” she said.

“I have so far lost almost a year of my life dealing with cancer at a great personal cost.

“I hope that other smokers will be smarter than I was and find a strength, and a way, to quit sooner rather than later.”

An information session on lung cancer, A Ray of Hope, will be held on Thursday, November 5 from 6pm to 8pm at the Australian Institute of Management in Floreat.

Contact Kirsten Mooney on 0400 023 296, Caitlin Broderick on 0438 910 582 or visit www.lungcancernetwork.com.au for more information.