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Rubby coach who helped guide Warrington Wolves star Lee Briers defies the odds
5:20pm Sunday 29th April 2012 in News
A FORMER youth rugby coach who helped guide Warrington player Lee Briers to success has been defying the odds after being diagnosed with lung cancer.
Patients like Jim Pyke, aged 62, who smoke more than 10 cigarettes a day, often face a bleak outlook with an average life expectancy of 147 days after diagnosis.
But one year on from his appointment at Warrington Hospital where he received the bad news, the granddad-of-two is feeling well and staying upbeat.
Jim, who is married to Susan and lives in St Helens, said: “You can’t let something like this stop you from living.
“I’m a Christian so the thought of dying didn’t bother me, I was more frightened for my family.
“I had gone to my GP a number of times with a cough but it was taken seriously when I started coughing up blood.”
The retired financial consultant, who has had four hip replacements, quit smoking 12 years ago and stopped drinking 10 years ago after an 87-year-old client told him he did not look well.
He said: “I was 49 years old and gasping and wheezing for breath.
“It was a shock someone so much older telling me I looked ill.
“Then I was told I had angina so I quit smoking on September 23 in 1999 and that was it.”
Jim, whose mum died of lung cancer aged 40 due to smoking, responded well to chemo and radiotherapy and is now having check ups every three months after treatment finished in September last year.
He added: “The staff were brilliant and Dr Owen is a hero.”
CONSULTANT chest physician Steve Owen said 90 per cent of lung cancer cases are due to smoking and warns residents to be checked out if they have a cough for three weeks, start coughing up blood or experience shortness of breath or chest pain.
Whether or not they can be treated then depends on how fit they are.
He said: “Patients are often frightened and know enough information about lung cancer to know it is serious.
“Unfortunately 80 per cent of patients with lung cancer are not suitable for operative treatment as the cancer has spread.”
Statistics have found smokers who have had 20 cigarettes a day for 40 years are 20 times more likely to have lung cancer than a non-smoker.
Mr Owen added: “It’s a terrible disease and survival rate after five years is less than 10 per cent.
“If you stop the risk goes down and steadily falls for 15 years but you will remain twice as likely than that of non-smokers and never get back to the same risk level as someone who has never smoked.”