Joe Crofts, 45, was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2011, after months of struggling to shift a suspected chest infection.
The IT worker, from Mauchline in East Ayrshire, went to his GP practice for another course of antibiotics, when the locum GP he saw that day immediately sent him for an emergency chest x-ray, followed by a CT scan.
Two days after the CT scan, Joe attended an appointment where the consultant explained that the previous scans had shown a suspected tumour in his lung, which they expected to confirm with tests, including a bronchoscopy and biopsy.
Shortly afterwards, Joe was told the cancer had been found early, and surgery to remove the tumour was scheduled two weeks later, with his family supporting his rehabilitation in the weeks that followed.
Joe needed no further treatment, returning to work three months later. He got back on his bike to help with his recovery, which led to him taking on cycle challenges to raise money for Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, completing a charity cycle from London to Paris.
Training is underway for his biggest challenge, a 1,000 mile cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats, which he hopes to complete next year.
“When you go through something like that, you do think that you’re going to make big changes to your life and do things differently. When in reality, once you fully recover, normality takes over and life goes on.
“Pretty soon after the surgery, we made a move from the city to the countryside, something we’d always wanted to do, and I married my partner Deborah after putting it off for a long time.
“I still get check-ups every year, and when the calendar appointment comes around, I do get a bit uptight. But it’s great to get the full MOT and have that reassurance. Every day I’m thankful for the chance I’ve been given.
“There’s no point telling people who are worried they may have lung cancer not to worry. It’s a worrying thing. But I’d encourage people not to put off getting checked, because if lung cancer is confirmed there’s more that can be done to treat it if it is found early. I’m living proof of that.”