Father, 31, told his six-month cough was 'harmless' FIVE TIMES is now dying from lung cancer - despite not being a smoker

  • Chris Rowe had been plagued by an irritating cough for six months
  • 31-year-old visited doctors five times in two months but was sent home
  • Despite the fact he was coughing blood, doctors diagnosed a simple virus
  • An X-ray revealed an aggressive, inoperable lung cancer that has spread 

For six months Chris Rowe was plagued by an irritating cough.

Repeated visits to doctors were met with the same conclusion - the 31-year-old was most likely suffering a 'simple' virus.

The father-of-one, whose wife Kate is expecting their second child in June, was dismissed by doctors five times in two months - despite reporting on one visit that he was coughing up blood.

But, after noticing a dull ache in his ribs, and coughing up more blood, he was taken to A&E.

There, an X-ray revealed a devastating diagnosis - Mr Rowe was suffering an aggressive lung cancer that had spread to his liver and bones.

Chris Rowe, pictured with his pregnant wife Kate and their three-year-old daughter, Sophia, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of lung cancer that had spread to his liver and bones, in December

Chris Rowe, pictured with his pregnant wife Kate and their three-year-old daughter, Sophia, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of lung cancer that had spread to his liver and bones, in December

After suffering a persistent cough for six months, he visited doctors five times in two months. But he was sent home each time, reassured he was most likely suffering a virus. But after coughing up blood and being taken to A&E, an X-ray revealed a tumour on the 31-year-old's lung

After suffering a persistent cough for six months, he visited doctors five times in two months. But he was sent home each time, reassured he was most likely suffering a virus. But after coughing up blood and being taken to A&E, an X-ray revealed a tumour on the 31-year-old's lung

He has been told his cancer is inoperable, but Mr Rowe is enduring gruelling rounds of chemotherapy in a bid to prolong his life, so he can create memories with his young family.

His wife Kate, 28, is set to give birth to a baby boy, a little brother for the couple's three-year-old daughter, Sophia, in June.

Mr Rowe, from Gloucester, said he hopes that by sharing his story, others will be aware of the symptoms of lung cancer.

He is a non-smoker and lives a healthy lifestyle, he said, adding the diagnosed came as a huge shock to him and his wife.

'I went to the doctors five times in just two months because my cough wouldn't go,' he said.

'It all started after I came back from a great holiday at Center Parcs. 

'I began coughing up blood which was really frightening but after visiting my doctors I felt relieved as they were adamant that I had a virus, and I was advised to keep taking ibuprofen.

'I trusted that I must be OK but when I started suffering from a dull ache in my ribs and I coughed up more blood, I ended up in A&E two months later.

WHAT ARE THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF LUNG CANCER? 

Lung cancer is one of the most common and serious types of the disease.

More than 41,000 people are diagnosed with the condition every year in the UK.

Often in the early stages of the disease there are no signs or symptoms.

But, many people with the condition will eventually develop some symptoms, including:

  • a persistent cough
  • coughing up blood 
  • persistent breathlessness 
  • unexplained tiredness and weight loss
  • an ache or pain when breathing or coughing 

Although people who have never smoked can develop lung cancer, smoking is the main cause - in about 90 per cent of cases.

The disease mainly affects older people.

It is rare in people younger than 40, while rates rise sharply with age.

It is most commonly diagnosed in those aged 70 to 74 years old.

Due to the nature of the disease, not presenting symptoms, it often spreads before it is diagnosed.

As a result, the outlook for patients with lung cancer is not as good as for those with other forms of the disease.

Around one in three people with the condition will live for at least a year after their diagnosis, and one in 10 will live at least five years.

Source: NHS Choices 

'It was after an X-ray while in hospital that they found I had a tumour in my lung.

'I'm trying to focus on creating as many memories with Kate and our children as possible, I want to ensure I'm in their lives for as long as possible.'

In December, Mr Rowe was told his cancer had spread to his liver and bones - the tumours were inoperable and treatment would only be able to prolong his life.

After an appointment with a lung cancer specialist in February, it was agreed that the 31-year-old could undergo the strongest chemotherapy available on the NHS. 

'I was hoping it would be a benign tumour as I'm young, fit and healthy but sadly that wasn't the case,' said Mr Rowe. 

'Kate and I were so shocked as there is no history of any type of cancer in my family.'

He is facing chemotherapy in the hope it will shrink and maintain his tumours, to give him time to watch his children grow up.

'Our little girl, Sophia helps keep my spirits high,' he said. 

'I'm so excited to meet our baby boy, Max, in June too and that definitely helps keep me going.

'My wife, Kate, friends and family have all been so supportive and that makes things a little easier too.'

Mr Rowe, who owned his own plastering business, was forced to sell the company in its 10th year.

'It was heartbreaking to sell my business, but I had no choice,' he said.

'I knew I couldn't continue with such a physical job while going through chemotherapy.

'It has made me very tired and weak so selling it wasn't an option, I had to.

'I am in constant pain with the cancer and I feel very sick most of the time due to the chemotherapy.'

Had he been older, Mr Rowe said he suspects his cough would not have been dismissed so quickly.

Mr Rowe has been told his cancer is inoperable, but is undergoing the strongest chemotherapy available on the NHS to try and shrink his tumours and give him more time with his wife, daughter and their baby

Mr Rowe has been told his cancer is inoperable, but is undergoing the strongest chemotherapy available on the NHS to try and shrink his tumours and give him more time with his wife, daughter and their baby

'I'm not one of those people who visit the doctor for no reason and they could see that from my medical records,' he said.

'I knew something was seriously wrong, but no-one would listen to me because I'm deemed too young for lung cancer.  

I knew something was seriously wrong, but no-one would listen to me because I'm deemed too young for lung cancer

'But my story proves that it can happen to anyone and maybe if I wasn't ignored for two months then my prognosis might have been better.

'I hope other people read my story and look out for the symptoms of lung cancer so they can get an earlier diagnosis.'

A fundraising page has been set up for Mr Rowe by his friend of 20 years, Lee Bowtell.

Dozens have since rallied to raise more than £10,000 in just two weeks.

The aim is to help support the family financially after Mr Rowe was forced to sell his business.  

'It's unbelievable how well the fundraising page has done already, it's amazing how many people want to help us and I can't thank Lee enough for setting it up,' said Mr Rowe.

'It has taken a huge strain off of our family and we feel like I can focus on Max's arrival in June rather than how to cope financially.'

To support the family, visit Mr Rowe's GoFundMe page here.  

Mrs Rowe, 28, is due to give birth to a little boy in June. Mr Rowe, said: 'Our little girl, Sophia helps keep my spirits high . I'm so excited to meet our baby boy, Max, in June too and that definitely helps keep me going'

Mrs Rowe, 28, is due to give birth to a little boy in June. Mr Rowe, said: 'Our little girl, Sophia helps keep my spirits high . I'm so excited to meet our baby boy, Max, in June too and that definitely helps keep me going'

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