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Flight Attendant Thought Chronic Tiredness Was Just Jetlag… It Turned Out To Be Lung Cancer

Flight Attendant Thought Chronic Tiredness Was Just Jetlag… It Turned Out To Be Lung Cancer

A flight attendant has described how she put off seeking medical advice for her chronic tiredness because she just thought she was constantly suffering jetlag from working long international flights. When Georgia Smith, 49, eventually went to her doctor she discovered she had actually been dismissing alarming warning signs of what turned out to be lung cancer.

The Sydney-based cabin crew member was used to being tired and suffering jetlag as a result of flying to destinations like Hawaii, Singapore and Hong Kong on top of being a mother of two children. But fatigue is also one of the most common symptoms of lung disease.

Georgia even dismissed a persistent and lingering cough, as well as breathlessness while she was trying to exercise. Both are warning signs that should have sent Georgia to a medical professional for a check-up. In most cases, these symptoms aren’t caused by anything serious but they can be a sign of lung cancer.

It was only when Georgia, a flight attendant for a well known Australian airline, visited her GP for a routine check-up that she discovered her health woes were a lot more serious than she could ever have imagined.

“It was a complete shock,” Georgia, who is appearing in a new public health awareness campaign for the Lung Foundation Australia told Channel Nine. “It was the last thing on my mind,” Georgia continued.

“I was tired and I was skinny but I put that down to running around after the kids, shift work, going to the gym doing high energy classes and the jet lag.”

Further diagnostic tests confirmed how bad the situation was – Georgia was found to have a tumour in her left lung.

Although in an advanced stage, the tumour was found in time for doctors to treating it with an aggressive mix of interventions. Georgia has undergone chemotherapy and radiotherapy, as well as surgery and immunotherapy to battle the disease.

Georgia is now undergoing a type of drug treatment known as Targeted therapy which has improved her prognosis. “I’m living with it, and I want to be a survivor,” she told Nine News.

According to the Lung Foundation, the symptoms of lung disease and lung cancer tend to creep up slowly, meaning that many people think they are just a sign of ageing or lack of fitness.

“This leads to many automatically adjusting their daily activities to accommodate or reduce their symptoms rather than getting help. But a persistent cough, breathlessness and fatigue can be serious,” the charity explains as part of its “What if your cough isn’t just a cough?” campaign.

The main symptoms of lung cancer include a persistent cough that has lasted for three weeks or more, as well as breathlessness and fatigue. Smoking is one of the biggest causes of lung cancer, but like Georgia, non-smokers can also get lung cancer and shouldn’t ignore the warning signs.

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