Paramedic’s death from lung cancer leads to Fife family’s donation for more screening

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“If you have lungs, you can get lung cancer” - that’s the message from a Fife family coming to terms with the death of their dad and husband who didn’t smoke and kept fit.

Michael Cain, from Cardenden, was an ambulance paramedic and a popular member of Kirkcaldy Wizzards Running Group, who saw a sore hip lead to a devastating diagnosis of lung cancer, and a tumour which, ultimately, spread to his brain.

He passed away in April, and over 500 people attended his funeral, resulting in a donation of £1300 to the Roy Castle Foundation - named in memory of the much loved TV star and entertainer who died from the disease in 1994, despite never smoking. For more information, and to donate, please visit https://roycastle.org/

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Michael’s wife, Rebecca’s wish is that the money can be put towards further screening for more people.

Michael was a member of Kirkcaldy Wizzards Running Group (Pic: Submitted)Michael was a member of Kirkcaldy Wizzards Running Group (Pic: Submitted)
Michael was a member of Kirkcaldy Wizzards Running Group (Pic: Submitted)

A pharmacy technician for cancer services in Fife, she worked in the chemotherapy unit where people received treatment - a job she loves, but one turned upside down when her own husband came for treatment

“It was hard seeing him sitting in the chair getting his chemotherapy, but he made it so much easier for me with his positive and friendly attitude,” she said. The couple were married for 34 years and have a son, Evan, 21. They were Michael’s world.

Rebecca told his story: “Michael was an ambulance paramedic, which is a job he excelled in. He was a laid-back, friendly person who took everyone at face value. He never saw bad in anyone and was happy with what he had. He never chased any ‘big’ dream; he always said he was living his dream with Evan and me.”

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A regular night at his running club ended with a sore pain in his hip which didn’t go away - a fact he mentioned while working in the A&E department at the Victoria Hospital. An x-ray revealed a tear which started to heal, but, one month later had got worse, leading to him needing crutches. The diagnosis of lung cancer came after an MRI and scan.

Rebecca and Evan with their donation to the Roy Castle Foundation (Pic: Submitted)Rebecca and Evan with their donation to the Roy Castle Foundation (Pic: Submitted)
Rebecca and Evan with their donation to the Roy Castle Foundation (Pic: Submitted)

“Michael was in disbelief, and I was devastated as I see it all the time at my work,” said Rebecca. Michael was amazing though and after some tears from us we decided we would fight it head-on. He got a CT-led biopsy which didn’t go well. His lung collapsed and he was in hospital for a week. He also had to get a hip replacement before his treatment which he had to travel for before he could begin his cancer treatment. He was so brave and just said he would do what it takes to be here longer with myself and Evan.”

The biopsy results showed he was a match for targeted therapy, and he was started on Afatanib in November 2021. Michael did well on it for 15 months until, unfortunately, the disease spread to his brain, resulting in radiotherapy and then chemotherapy.

“It completely floored Michael and I thought we were going to lose him,” said Rebecca. “But he picked himself up from rock bottom and we even went on holiday together in August 2023. He always looked forward and never back, even when we got bad news in December that year. His chemotherapy had stopped working and his cancer was spreading. Before Michael could start different chemotherapy he had to get a tooth out as it was infected. I was in awe of how he continued to fight his disease with such bravery and determination..

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“Michael started different chemotherapy in February 2024 but we both knew he was running out of options if this did not work. Unfortunately, Michael started showing signs of brain metastases and he began having small seizures. This was very difficult to watch.”Michael sadly passed away on April 24: “Although it was incredibly sad, we all take comfort from knowing him and having such a lovely person in our lives.”

The foundation was named in memory of singer, dancer and instrumentalist Roy Castle  (Pic: Ian Tyas/Keystone Features/Getty Images)The foundation was named in memory of singer, dancer and instrumentalist Roy Castle  (Pic: Ian Tyas/Keystone Features/Getty Images)
The foundation was named in memory of singer, dancer and instrumentalist Roy Castle (Pic: Ian Tyas/Keystone Features/Getty Images)

“His funeral was so busy. There were about 500 people who attended which was a reflection of the love everyone had for him.”

Rebecca’s story now features on the foundation’s website, and the donation has been forward to it.

“I am hoping this donation will benefit people like Michael and Roy, who never smoked but were diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. My wish is that this money can be put towards further screening for more people. If you have lungs, you can get lung cancer – charities like this are important for raising awareness of the signs and symptoms for everyone, not just smokers. Michael didn’t have any symptoms until it was too late.”

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