A mum from Trafford who survived lung cancer after smoking for 40 years is urging others to quit the habit.

Leigh Webber had to have lifesaving surgery in 2017 after a CT scan revealed she had a 1.5cm tumour in her lung caused by smoking.

The 60-year-old was fortunate that the tumour was caught early and she had a lobectomy to remove the tumour and the lower half of her left lung.

Now having made a full recovery and been cleared of cancer for more than five years, Ms Webber is sharing her story to warn other smokers of the risks of developing a smoking-related illness like cancer and to urge them to quit before it's too late.

Ms Webber said: "I had been smoking for 40 years and after a persistent bad chest infection in 2016, I started thinking that it was time for me to seriously think about quitting to improve my health and wellbeing.

“So, I started running, doing something positive instead of reaching for a cigarette.

"I honestly felt great – the best I’d probably felt both physically and mentally.”

But in January 2017, she received the devastating diagnosis that she had lung cancer.

The mum added: “My chest had cleared up and I was feeling much better so when my CT scan came around, I was in two minds whether to go or not and considered cancelling my appointment.

"Thank goodness I didn’t."

Ms Webber said she had "never thought" she would have got cancer from smoking and wondered if she was going to die.

However, she said she was lucky that she had already kicked the habit and that doctors managed to catch the cancer in its early stages.

“The doctors told me it was a slow-growing cancer so it could have continued for another ten years before being detected, which may have been too late to do anything.

“I was also fortunate that I’d already given up smoking before the diagnosis and my surgery as I couldn’t have coped with quitting smoking and dealing with the operation.

"I’m so grateful I went ahead with my scan, and I would encourage anyone with persistent symptoms to get checked out.”

Dr Matt Evison, a respiratory consultant at Wythenshawe Hospital and clinical lead for Greater Manchester’s tobacco control programme, Make Smoking History, was Ms Webber's consultant at the time.

Dr Evison said he remember her consultation and found it was a "positive one".

"Yes, we’d found something awful, but there was something we could do about it.

"Not least because of the dramatic changes and benefits to her life that had happened in the months leading up to that diagnosis", the doctor said.

In a bid to encourage others to follow Ms Webber's lead and stop smoking, he pointed out that quitting the habit reduces the risk of developing 16 different forms of cancer.

Dr Evison added: “There’s no greater thing that someone can do for their health than stop smoking.

"So much so that helping someone to be tobacco-free is part of the treatment plan for anybody diagnosed with cancer.”

While not all cases of lung cancer are caused by smoking, it still remains the biggest risk factor for lung cancer and is responsible for seven in ten cases.

There are a wide range of symptoms of lung cancer, including coughing, breathlessness and unexplained weight loss. 

Dr Evison added: “The earlier we find lung cancer, the more chance we have to treat it and to cure it – and many people are cured if we find it early enough.

“So, if you’ve had a cough, a change in your breathing, or there is pain in the chest or shoulders for three weeks or more, it has to be investigated so please go and see your GP.”