Lung Cancer Awareness Month
November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, and we’re raising awareness in an effort to encourage those who have symptoms of lung cancer to visit their GP.
According to the NHS “Lung cancer is one of the most common and serious types of cancer. Around 47,000 people are diagnosed with the condition every year in the UK.”
A resident of Barking and Dagenham is one and a third times more likely to develop lung cancer than people in other parts of England. (CRUK Local stats site. The 2013 European age standardised rate for 2012-14 is 109.9 per 100,000 where the England average is 79.8.). But we would like to see the tide change by doing what we can to raise awareness of the symptoms, support people to get checked out as quickly as possible and encourage people to do what they can to improve their lifestyles and life chances.
The signs and symptoms of lung cancer are ambiguous making early diagnoses hard. However, this makes awareness of the symptoms key to giving every chance for diagnosis to happen at an early stage.
The main symptoms are:
- a cough that doesn’t go away after 2 or 3 weeks
- a long-standing cough that gets worse
- chest infections that keep coming back
- coughing up blood
- an ache or pain when breathing or coughing
- persistent breathlessness
- persistent tiredness or lack of energy
- loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss.
Smoking cigarettes is the single biggest risk factor for lung cancer. It's responsible for more than 70% of cases. This is because smokers inhale carcinogenic (cancer causing) substances as they smoke. If you smoke more than 25 cigarettes a day, you are 25 times more likely to get lung cancer than a non-smoker. Other types of tobacco use such as cigars, pipe tobacco, snuff (a powdered form of tobacco) or chewing tobacco also increase the risk of developing lung cancer. (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/lung-cancer/causes/)
Talking to your GP as soon you recognised the symptoms remains one of the best ways to have a chance of diagnosis and treatment.
The following organisations offer support
Local hospice, St Francis, offers training and carers support groups. Call the Family Support Team on
01708 753319 or visit their website www.sfh.org.uk
Macmillan have a support line which operates Mon-Fri 9am-8pm. Call 0808 808 00 00. People who are hard of hearing use text phone 0808 808 0121 or text relay. Or visit the website macmillan.org.uk
Dying matters website has leaflets and a DVD to help support people to have difficult conversations about the future. Visit www.dyingmatters.org/overview/resources
Families facing cancer can offer you emotional and practical support. Visit www.familiesfacingcancer.org.uk/information or call 0844 35 77 959
The British Lung Foundation have a helpline: 03000 030 555 which can be used to ask questions about lung cancer, ask about medication or simply talk to someone who cares. (https://www.blf.org.uk/support-for-you/lung-cancer/more-information)