Glen Long, 48, admitted things could have been very different if his wife Laura had not booked a GP appointment for him.
This appointment led to a series of tests at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh and eventually to a bladder cancer diagnosis in 2019.
“I just thought it was an infection and kind of brushed it off, but my wife Laura said it wasn’t normal and I needed to get it checked straight away.”
Even when his GP referred him for an ultrasound, he still didn’t think anything of it. After a cystoscopy which involved a tiny camera going into his bladder, Glen was told that the consultant needed to speak to him. That’s when he first realised the news “might not be great”.
The dad-of-two said: “The only thing I heard him saying was ‘tumour’ and ‘cancer’. After that I can’t remember a thing, it was like white noise.
“I genuinely thought it was an infection as I didn’t feel ill or sick and had no fatigue.”
While Glen’s doctors were able to remove the whole tumour and treat him with chemotherapy, the cancer had returned. He required further surgery in 2021, but this time, the tumour was so small that no further chemotherapy was needed.
He said: “I felt more confident as I knew they were on top of things and it had been caught early again. My last scan was clear and if the next one in a couple of months is clear, I’ll move to annual scans which will be another step forward.”
The dad is now seizing every opportunity to enjoy life, and has recently celebrated his silver wedding anniversary and walked the West Highland Way with friends to raise money for charity Fight Bladder Cancer.
The 48-year-old said: “I can’t really explain it but I look at things so differently. It’s like a new lease of life. I feel reborn, like I’ve been given another chance.
“Even though I’m still regularly monitored, I don’t even really think about it now. If people ask me about it, I’ll tell them, but I’m definitely not dwelling on it.
“It’s probably my wife that saved my life. I know I wouldn’t have made that appointment as quickly. I’d have done the usual and thought that it would have been alright, but now I know the importance of early diagnosis.”
Glen is now backing the ‘Be the Early Bird’ campaign to highlight the importance of getting new unusual symptoms checked.
The ‘Be the Early Bird’ campaign explains the importance of finding cancer at an earlier stage when there’s more treatment options available.
Targeting those aged 40 and over, the campaign explains that GP practices want to know if people have unusual, persistent symptoms, which could include unexplained bleeding, unusual lumps, unexplained weight loss or something that doesn’t feel normal for them.
The dad added: “You know your body and if something doesn’t feel right for you, make an appointment with your GP practice.
“If it turns out to be cancer, finding it early is so important and there’s more they can do to treat it. Having that peace of mind is priceless.”