Finding lung cancer early can save lives
A Be Clear on Cancer campaign, aimed at increasing awareness of the symptoms of lung cancer, has been considered so successful it is being repeated.
The Public Health England campaign first ran nationally throughout England in May – July 2012. Recent data found that around 700 extra people were diagnosed with lung cancer in these months when compared to the same period in the previous year. Approximately 400 more people were diagnosed at an early stage, and around 300 more patients had surgery, giving them the best chance of prolonged survival.
The campaign will run until the end of April in a bid to make more people aware of the symptoms of lung cancer and encourage them to visit their GP if they have had a cough for three weeks or more – a key symptom of the disease.
Professor Kevin Fenton, National Director of Health and Wellbeing at Public Health England, said:
“We know this campaign is effective in driving people with lung cancer symptoms into GP surgeries – the figures speak for themselves.
“We are therefore running the campaign again to further increase awareness of the signs of lung cancer and overcome the fears preventing people presenting early to their doctors so that we can save more lives across all communities.
“Finding lung cancer early makes it more treatable so it’s important to know the symptoms and, if you spot any, visit your doctor straight away – it could save your life.”
Lung cancer is currently England’s biggest cancer killer, causing around 28,100 deaths each year and with around 34,900 people diagnosed annually. Those diagnosed at the earliest stage are five times more likely to survive lung cancer for at least five years than those diagnosed at a late stage.
The Be Clear on Cancer lung cancer campaign is aimed at men and women over the age of 50, as they are most at risk of the disease.
Dr Pallav Shah, Consultant Physician in Respiratory Medicine at the Royal Brompton Hospital, said:
“The results are great and suggest that hundreds of patients received potentially life-saving surgery following the first national campaign for lung cancer. We still need to continue the good work so that more lives can be saved.
“Many people still believe if you have lung cancer it’s the end. In my experience it doesn’t have to be this way. Lung cancer can be treated and you can have a good quality of life afterwards.
“But it’s important for people to be aware of the symptoms of lung cancer – if you’ve been coughing for three weeks or more, have had repeated chest infections or have been coughing up blood and feeling breathless, go and see your doctor.”
Kishan Devani, speaker, teacher and lecturerhas given his full support to the Be Clear on Cancer campaign. He said:
“The NHS is doing great work in promoting the symptoms of lung cancer to our community and because it affects us we must take notice. The health messages that are being promoted will help people recognise the symptoms and take action immediately so that more lives can be saved.