Sue Mountain, from South Tyneside, underwent laser treatment in 2012 after a biopsy revealed she had throat cancer aged just 47. The cancer returned in 2014 which required radiotherapy every day for four weeks. Sue quit but smoking has affected her health, her job, her finances and her family.
Sue said: “I started smoking when I was eleven to fit in - as a kid you don’t realise how addictive it is. I was addicted. I needed that nicotine craving.
“When I look back at what I have spent on cigarettes, it must have been £50,000 at least. It could have bought me half a house, instead of cancer.
“I don’t think I could go back to my job as a lecturer now because my voice is still very hoarse after the radiotherapy. But it’s my family it has affected. It was hard seeing my three daughters worry – it feels like they were punished because of me smoking. My grandson worries. And now once you’ve had cancer, you worry every day and think: “is it going to come back?” So I wish I had never smoked.
“I tried a million times and the only advice I can say is keep trying, it’s worth it 100%. I never ever thought all those times I quit and failed that I would get to this point in my life. But you’ve got to keep trying. You don’t want to hear the word ‘cancer’ diagnosed.”