This quiet warning to quit smoking speaks volumes
CHRIS Fletcher's warning might be made in a hushed voice, but the reason he speaks so quietly is the most important point.
If the 59-year-old had his time again, he would never touch a cigarette.
Mr Fletcher started smoking when he was 20 and quit just before his 40th birthday when packets started bearing health warnings and he developed a nasty cough.
Four years later, Mr Fletcher was at a local GP who looked under his tongue and questioned the sizeable lump in his throat.
"I was taken straight to the hospital and had a biopsy and they said, 'You've got cancer' - that was a shock," he said.
A week later, Mr Fletcher underwent "massive" surgery to remove the cancer.
Mr Fletcher recovered well and, three years later, he was considered in remission.
But six months later, a secondary cancer was discovered in his thyroid.
The nerves to the right of Mr Fletcher's voice box were severed and he will never again speak in anything but a hushed voice.
"The lesson is, don't start smoking. If you do start, stop and get regular check-ups.
"I'm lucky they caught the cancer early, otherwise I'd be dead by 44."