Barnsley Hospital is urging people to watch out for the early symptoms of lung cancer, the nation’s biggest ‘cancer killer’, as part of a national awareness drive throughout November.
Lung cancer continues to be the most common cause of cancer in the UK with around 180 new diagnoses in Barnsley alone every year. Nationally, the disease claims around 33,000 deaths a year yet public awareness of the disease is still worryingly low.
“Lung cancer claims the lives of over 85 per cent of people with the condition and sadly only 20 per cent of patients survive for more than one year,” explains lung cancer specialist nurse Alison Bennett. “Many of these deaths are caused by late diagnosis and unlike other cancers, there is no proven effective screening method so the symptoms can be easily missed by the person and doctor alike.
Many people think only smokers can get lung cancer but surprisingly one in six people with lung cancer have never smoked in their lives,” continues Alison. “While smoking is still the major cause of lung cancer, the good news is that quitting works and it’s never too late to give up. Even if you have been smoking most of your life, your chances of developing lung cancer will be less if you give up now, whatever your age.”
Spotting lung cancer is not easy but people should go and see their doctor straightaway if they have any of the following symptoms:
- A cough that doesn’t go away after two or three weeks
- Persistent chest infections
- More spit or phlegm, particularly with blood in it
- Tiredness or lack of energy
- Persistent chest or shoulder pain
Alison concludes: “These symptoms may not be serious, in which case you’ve got nothing to lose by getting them checked out but if they are serious, you’ve got everything to gain – and diagnosis at an early stage can save your life.”
Alison will be on hand to give advice, explain more about lung cancer and what services are offered for lung cancer patients at Barnsley at a special awareness day on Wednesday 19 November in the hospital restaurant.
Anyone looking for help to quit smoking can call the Barnsley NHS Stop Smoking Service on 01226 737077.
Date Issued: 13 November 2008
Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Tel: 01226 432301