'I never thought a dry throat could mean cancer'
John Langton never suspected for one second that a dry throat could be a sign of cancer.
"I really didn't think there was anything up. For a week or so I ignored it," said the Terenure architect (61), who is a volunteer with the Irish Cancer Society's Survivor Support Programme.
"Then one morning I felt this lump on my neck. It was probably half the size of a golf ball.
"I went to the GP immediately and ended up getting sent to the hospital."
Tests in July 2009 revealed he had a tumour on his tongue, very low down.
He was told he had stage four head and neck cancer.
Father-of-three Mr Langton, who was 54 at the time, asked for a prognosis.
"I was told that one in three people will survive more than five years," he said.
He underwent a range of treatments including chemotherapy, radiotherapy and a lumpectomy.
"They took a lot of lymph glands out of my neck," he said.
Mr Langton came out the other side with an all-clear, but he still goes for a check-up every six months.
"I never did any exercise in my life before, and when I finished all the treatments I was suffering from fatigue," he said.
"I was determined to shake that off, so I started doing a bit of walking at first and then I started hill walking and now I'm a runner."
The survivor support programme provides emotional and practical support to newly diagnosed cancer patients. All volunteers have had a cancer diagnosis, which means new patients can speak with someone who has had a similar form of the disease, such as stomach, bowel or breast.
They can discuss any problems they may be experiencing with feeding or swallowing or speaking, for example.
Around 40,000 people will be diagnosed with cancer in Ireland this year. One-in-three Irish people will receive a diagnosis during their lifetime.
As Daffodil Day approaches next Friday, the Irish Cancer Society is calling on the public to lend its support in the fight against cancer.
See www.cancer.ie to donate. The Cancer Nurseline Freephone is 1800 200 700.