NHS South West Lincolnshire CCG is using Lung Cancer Awareness Month to remind people to tell their doctor if they have had a cough for three weeks or more.
Whilst coughs seem to be common this time of year, a persistent cough that lasts longer than three weeks could be a sign of something more serious. In the vast majority of cases the underlying condition will not be serious but in some cases it could be a sign of lung cancer.
Nationally around three quarters of those diagnosed are found to have the condition when it is already in the advanced stages and much harder to treat. Many don’t live for more than a year after receiving their diagnosis.
Evidence shows that people who are diagnosed with lung cancer in its early stages are more likely to respond well to treatment and live longer.
There are usually no signs or symptoms in the early stages but those with lung cancer will eventually develop symptoms including:
- persistent cough;
- persistent chest infections;
- coughing up blood;
- an ache or pain when breathing or coughing;
- persistent breathlessness;
- unexplained tiredness and weight loss.
Lung cancer is one of the most common and serious types of cancer in the UK. This is why it’s hugely important for people to be aware of the symptoms and that they visit their GP as soon as they notice something is wrong. Like all cancers early diagnosis is vital and improves the chance of survival significantly. When lung cancer is diagnosed in its early stages, there are more treatment options and treatment is likely to be more successful.
Dr David Baker, GP and Chair of South West Lincolnshire CCG said:
“We encourage anyone who is worried about any of the symptoms of lung cancer to visit their GP practice straight away. This is especially important if you smoke as 8 out of 10 cases of lung cancer are caused by smoking. Anyone aged under 50 who has had a cough for more than three weeks, should speak to their GP practice or call NHS 111.”