A PEMBROKESHIRE woman has joined calls for a national screening programme for lung cancer.

Lorraine Wingert-Scheeres has backed the call after her family experienced the heartbreak of lung cancer as her dad Jack died from the disease.

The mum-of-five believes that lung cancer patients would have a better survival rate if screening was available.

Her dad Jack Cordwell started smoking at the age of 13 and quit in his 50s. In 2007, he developed a persistent cough and was diagnosed with bronchitis. He was sent home with antibiotics, but the cough remained after he finished the course and his wife Jessica told him to go to the doctor again.

Lorraine said: “He went off for an x-ray, and when the result showed a shadow, we all began to worry a bit.”

A biopsy confirmed that Jack – then 76 – had lung cancer. “It was a major shock to all of us when the consultant told my dad that he had small cell carcinoma – lung cancer,” said Lorraine. “We were all too shocked to ask many questions, but I did point out that my dad hadn’t smoked for 20 years, so how could it be possible?

“He did the right thing and stopped many years ago – notwithstanding that my dad, who was born in 1931, had been smoking since he was thirteen years old. The consultant told us that if my dad hadn’t stopped smoking twenty years ago, we would have had this conversation 18 years ago.”

Jack had radiotherapy and chemotherapy but was admitted into hospital with a suspected stroke a few months later where the family were given the worst possible news when they met with the consultant.

“The initial tumour in his chest had sunk considerably and whilst this would have been excellent news ordinarily, in dad’s case the ‘but’ was that the tumour had metastasised into his brain,” said Lorraine. “We all knew immediately what that meant.”

A few months later, Jessica died suddenly from a brain haemorrhage, which was followed a few days later by Jack falling into a coma before he died.

Lorraine is urging people to sign a petition to call for a national screening programme for lung cancer. She said: “Targeted lung screening can pick up lung cancer in those with a higher risk of lung cancer, including people with a history of smoking. My dad hadn’t smoked for 20 years, but he would have still qualified and benefitted from this screening.”

Cancer Research UK’s latest statistics say that at least 1,000 deaths in Wales could be avoided if the national screening programme is introduced, as the screening could see around 2,400 more patients in Wales diagnosed at an early stage when it is most treatable.

It comes after a recommendation by the UK National Screening Committee that all UK nations should move towards implementing lung cancer screening to target those at most risk – aged between 55 and 74 with a history of smoking.

The petition has been launched by Cancer Research UK and other health organisations and can be found at https://petitions.senedd.wales/petitions/245901