WHEN he used to get breathless doing chores around the house, Portsmouth man Eric Compton did not think anything of it.
It was not until he eventually visited his doctor he was told he was lucky to be alive.
The 69-year-old has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a lung condition that causes breathing difficulties.
And now, Eric is urging other people to visit their GP is they have any concerns about coughs, getting breathless or chest pain.
His message is one backed by Public Health England as they held their Be Clear on Cancer workshops this week which encourages people to know the signs of heart and lung diseases and lung cancer.
Eric, from Cosham, said: ‘In 2007, I got up one morning and was breathless. My wife phoned for an ambulance and I was taken to hospital.
If they have any problems with their breathing they need to see their GP and get it sorted.Eric Compton
‘At that point I did not know what was wrong with me. I woke up the next morning and the doctor said I was a miracle and he hadn’t expected me to make it through the night.
‘It was after a series of scans that I was diagnosed with COPD.’
Eric, who chairs the Portsmouth Breathe Easy group, now works to help other people with COPD and improve their quality of life.
He got involved in the Be Clear on Cancer to pass on their important message.
Eric added: ‘I want people to realise they should not be afraid to see their GP.
‘If they have any problems with their breathing they need to see their GP and get it sorted.
‘If you have a cough for three weeks do not leave it, please.’
Figures show in 2015/16 in Portsmouth there were 4,493 people diagnosed with COPD and 122 people diagnosed with lung cancer, of which 95 died from the disease.
In 2015/16 in Havant, 4,365 people had COPD while 132 people of the 167 diagnosed with lung cancer died from it.
The Public Health England roadshow was at Cascades Shopping Centre, in Portsmouth, today and at Havant’s Meridian Centre yesterday.
The team handed out leaflets and gave advice on how to recognise the symptoms.
Dr Jason Horsley, director of public health for Portsmouth City Council, said: ‘A persistent cough or becoming breathless doing things you used to be able to do, such as mowing the lawn or walking at a normal place, could be a sign of something serious.
‘It’s important to visit your GP to get these symptoms checked out – you won’t be wasting anyone’s time and finding out early makes treatment more effective.’