Saturday, July 20, 2024

“Be clear about your symptoms” – new lung cancer campaign in Thurrock

A COUGH that lasts for three weeks is the focus of a new campaign to increase awareness of the key symptoms of lung cancer and improve earlier diagnosis.

New data reveals only one in 10 people know that a persistent cough for three weeks or more could be a symptom of lung cancer1 and if dealt with early could save their life.

The Be Clear on Cancer national campaign, which runs until the end of June, sees new adverts – fronted by real-life GPs – in TV, radio, print and online media. The adverts urge anyone who has had a cough for three weeks or more to visit their doctor. GPs, practice managers and pharmacists have been given information about the campaign to help prepare for and support it.

The Essex Cancer Network is extending the reach of the campaign by using promotional advertising on buses to make people aware of lung cancer. The buses run from depots in Harwich, Clacton, Colchester, Braintree, Chelmsford, Southend and Basildon.

Dr Kishor Padki, Consultant in public health medicine for the Essex Cancer Network, says: “Lung cancer diagnosis was seen as a death sentence in the past. Many cases still are diagnosed in the advanced stages of disease. The key to saving lives is in its early detection, which makes it more treatable.

“If you are coughing for more than three weeks, see your doctor urgently. Most cases of lung cancer can be diagnosed through a simple chest X-ray.

“Ways to reduce your risk of developing lung cancer in the first place are stopping smoking, regular physical activity, eating healthily and reducing alcohol intake.

“We know that general awareness of cancer symptoms in the population is low. People delay going to their doctor because either they fear the worst result or they do not want to waste their doctor’s time. This campaign aims to make people aware of the early symptoms of lung cancer and encourages them to see their doctor early.”

Lung cancer affects 33,000 people nationally each year with almost 1,060 cases in Essex. The majority of cases occur in people over the age of 55. In Essex there are almost 920 deaths a year – but more lives can be saved if lung cancer is spotted and diagnosed early. When diagnosed at its earliest stage, as many as 80% of people are alive five years after diagnosis compared with only 7% diagnosed at a late stage.

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