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Respiratory health case studies: Jane Holmes and André Lassooij

Read about a marathon runner’s lung cancer shock and a double-lung transplant recipient, turned international sports star.

Lung disease isn’t always linked to a lazy lifestyle

Super fit marathon runner Jane Holmes, from Wales, was stunned when she was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer aged only 43. She had not smoked since university and had no symptoms, and was only diagnosed after undergoing an x-ray for something unrelated.

In this article, Jane’s husband, Steven Holmes, discusses how they coped with her diagnosis.

“My wife Jane was diagnosed with lung cancer after presenting with no symptoms aged just 43. It was an opportunistic x-ray that revealed a shadow in the right upper lobe of her lung, which ultimately led to her diagnosis.

“After further investigations and biopsies, it was confirmed as Stage 3b Adenocarcinoma of the lung which had spread to 2 nodes in Jane’s neck.

‘Radical’ radiotherapy paved the way for surgery

After her diagnosis Jane had 4 cycles of chemotherapy then 6 weeks of radiotherapy at the Velindre Cancer Centre in Cardiff. Due to her age and fitness, Jane was given ‘radical’ radiotherapy to both the chest and neck which proved very effective and paved the way for surgery, despite us being told at diagnosis that Jane’s stage of lung cancer was inoperable.

“So in June 2015, and a year since diagnosis, Jane’s upper right lobe was surgically removed, along with some lymph nodes. The operation was completed via keyhole surgery which enabled a faster recovery time.

“The biopsy results following the surgery showed that the tumour they had removed was still malignant although the sampled lymph nodes and pleural fluid were negative. This meant that no further treatment was needed at the time. We are currently awaiting the monitoring scans, due next month, to determine the current status of the disease.

Back to living an active lifestyle after lung cancer

“Jane is still symptom free and remarkably was back running a charity 5k race within 5 weeks of surgery.

“This time last year, Jane had been due to run the Snowdonia Marathon, one of the toughest marathons in the UK, but had to cancel due to treatment. Jane has, however, taken up a place for this year and we hope to complete it together at the end of October!

“Jane has always been a keen runner (at least since she met me!), and loves walking around the hills where we live in West Wales, with our three rescue dogs. We plan to continue keeping active and look for some events we can both enter in order to help raise money and awareness for Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation. Jane was delighted to receive the Inspiration Award at the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation Stars Awards in May 2015. To date, via various events and with support from family, friends and the local community, Jane has raised over £16,500 since the beginning of the year.

“It’s been a tough year but with Jane’s determination and natural positivity she has continued to inspire me and everyone who meets her, as well as giving hope to others in a similar situation.”

If you’d like to support Jane’s fundraising visit

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