National TV, radio and print adverts – fronted by real-life GPs – aim to raise awareness of the symptoms of lung cancer and encourage people to get checked out by their GP if they have any of the symptoms.
Despite the disease killing more people than any other form of cancer in England, only one in 10 people know that a persistent cough for three weeks or more could be a symptom of lung cancer and if dealt with early could save their life. Other symptoms of lung cancer include coughing up blood, persistent shoulder pain, repeated chest infections and breathlessness.
Across England 33,000 people each year are diagnosed with lung cancer, with around 2,100 people affected across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight and around 1,800 local people die each year from the disease.
The earlier lung cancer is diagnosed, the better the chance of survival. When diagnosed at its earliest stage, as many as 80 per cent of people live five years after diagnosis, compared with only seven per cent diagnosed at a later stage.
The majority of cases occur in people over the age of 55. Although smoking is known to cause an increased risk of lung cancer, around one in eight people diagnosed have never smoked.
Island GP Dr David Isaac, from Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group, says: “It is a common belief that cancer is a death sentence. This really isn’t the case and dispelling that myth could save lives. If caught early, cancer is treatable and early diagnosis is extremely important with lung cancer. Therefore, if you have had a cough for the past three weeks or more, you must visit your GP to get checked out.
“Sadly some patients don’t act on worrying symptoms for months and do not visit their GP. It’s very straightforward for your GP to examine you and determine whether to send you for further tests which can be done on the Island at St. Mary’s. If your GP wants to exclude the possibility of lung cancer, you will see a specialist within two weeks and they will then arrange for further tests and, if necessary, treatment. You will either get reassurance that it isn’t lung cancer, or you will find out it is and have a better chance of survival.”
For further information about the signs and symptoms of lung cancer, please visit www.nhs.uk/lungcancer