"In February 2000 we had a friend staying with us for a week from California. She was a nurse and noticed that I had a really bad wheeze at night. I was aware of the problem but I didn't think it was anything to worry about. However, by the following morning she had spoken to my wife who convinced me to get it checked out by a GP.
My doctor was fantastic and took my concerns very seriously. He examined me and confirmed that I did indeed have a bad wheeze which could be something more serious. I had some x-rays taken and the next morning he called to tell me that there was a shadow across my lung, which was swiftly diagnosed as inoperable cancer.
When I heard that it was cancer the bottom fell out of my world. My dad died of lung cancer when he was just 39 years old so I automatically feared the worst. Breaking the news to my family and friends was particularly difficult.
It all happened very fast from this point. Just three weeks later I was at the Beatson in Glasgow receiving chemotherapy followed by radiotherapy. I was very fortunate and the treatment worked extremely well. By December I was back at work, which was a big boost to morale."
In February 2001 a specialist gave Bill the good news that the cancer had gone. Since recovering from the disease thirteen years ago he has experienced many highlights in his life.
"In 2001 my wife and I visited our friend in California and took a 5,500 mile road trip through nine states. We enjoyed it so much that we've been back several times since our first visit. In November 2011, I also attended a graduation ceremony with my wife and daughter, to accept an honorary MA degree for my work with the Cancer Care Research Centre at Stirling University."
Bill's advice to others is simple. He said, "Being diagnosed with cancer will always be a big deal and a huge worry but if it's caught early enough you stand a much better change of survival.
It's normal to be frightened of cancer but early detection really does make a difference to your options and outcome. Whether it's a lump or a persistent cough you should always get it checked by your doctor. In most cases it's nothing to worry about but it could save your life."
Have you influenced a loved one to get checked early? Or did you get checked early and now live a full life? If you'd be willing to support our campaign, we'd love to hear from you – your story could encourage someone else to take action. Contact us here.