He’s a former smoker who knows how lucky he is to have beaten lung cancer.
And now Eric Byrne has become a member of a government body which is updating clinical guidelines for the NHS on treatment for the killer illness.
The Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) is the government body responsible for ensuring that all cancer patients get the same quality of treatment.
Its just the latest in a long list of things Eric’s doing for the cause.
Eric from Airdrie,said:”Everybody in Scotland that gets lung cancer will have the same quality of treatment”.
“Its made up of oncologists,surgeons,pharmicists and a medical psychologist,they’ve asked me what I think shoul go in the report,which wont be completed until next December”.
Eric attends meetings every two months.
Eric,who is married to Sarah,58,only became aware of his illness when plagued by a persistant cough and his daughter,Jennifer,27,persuaded him to see a doctor.
He was initially sent away with antibiotics.But the cough continued and in October 2008 an X-ray finally comfirmed he had a tumour in his right lung-and it had caused the organ to collapse.
He said”I discovered a tumour had grown and blocked off the airway”.
That day Eric,who had smoked cigars for 40 years,cleared the house of his habit.
He started chemotherapy which defied doctors expectations by shrinking the tumour by the largest extent they’d ever seen.
He later had successful surgery to remove the growth.
That was three years ago and Eric knows how lucky he is.
He said:If it hadn’t been for Jennifer’s insistence I would have probably carried on for some months and it would have been too late.
“Eighty per cent of people with lung cancer die in the first year”
“There’s only 7% of us manage five years,my doctor gave me two years.
The retired Anniesland College lecturer is now an ambassador for the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation charity and has also been involved with Cancer Research UK.
And while he was on holiday in America last year he even spread the word for US cancer organisation LUNGevity.
In Seattle’s Lincoln Park he took part in a 6km walk with the Washington State Senator Andy Hill,who has lung cancer,and oncologist Jack West, to raise awareness.
Eric has backed our Clear the Air campaign to persuade people to stop smoking.
He said:”I commend you for it.If I could have met myself 30 years ago and said,”Eric don’t do that its a mugs game”,I would have.
A spokeman for Healthcare Improvement Scotland,which runs SIGN,said:”Patients and the public bring an important voice to our work.In the development of SIGN guidelines,they help to bring a patients perspective to the development of new guidelines.
“They also help identify areas where services and patient pathways could be improved,and ensure that patient issues are taken into account throughout the guideline development process.