LUNG CANCER AWARENESS

LUNG CANCER AWARENESS

I received this through my email which you may find interesting reading.

Warnings

that cough

could spell

cancer

VITAL SIGNS: IT’S THE MOST LETHAL

CANCER, BUT LUNG CANCER CAN

BE CURED IF IT’S PICKED UP EARLY

ENOUGH. KATIE BALDWIN REPORTS.

AS WINTER

sets in, it’s the

time for colds

and coughs to

do the rounds.

Often it’s those

coughs which outlast the

other symptoms of viruses,

sometimes hanging around for

weeks afterwards.

But Macmillan Cancer

Support, along with the NHS,

are urging people to watch out

for persistent coughs.

A cough lasting more than

three weeks can be one of the

symptoms of lung cancer,

and during November – Lung

Cancer Awareness Month –

specialists are trying to make

more people aware of the signs.

John White, lead macmillan

lung cancer nurse specialist

based at the Leeds Cancer

Centre at St James’s Hospital

said: “Nearly 120 people receive

a diagnosis of lung cancer every

day in the UK, and whilst the

survival rates are poor, the

important thing to remember

is that if caught early enough it

is treatable.”

He said that 77 per cent

of lung cancer patients were

unaware of the signs and

symptoms, which that means

many are being diagnosed too

late to be cured.

“It’s really vital that more

people are educated – getting

people to their GP’s when

symptoms occur could mean

earlier diagnosis and a better

prognosis.”

And though one of the

major risk factors for the

illness is smoking, it can also

affect non-smokers.

“There is also a

misconception that lung cancer

only affects smokers but this

isn’t the case – in fact more

than one in ten cases are not

linked to smoking at all,” John

added.

“It’s important for everyone

to know the facts.”

A Leeds pensioner knows

just how important it is to get

checked out if anything seems

to be wrong.

Ray Whincup was 60 in 1998

and was very fit, going to the

gym very regularly after taking

redundancy from his job as

a bank inspector eight years

earlier.

However he had noticed

he was coughing up a small

amount of blood, and the cough

itself was lingering.

The father-of-two, who lives

in Rothwell with his wife Hazel,

visited his GP, underwent tests

and then was given the news

that he had lung cancer.

He underwent surgery in

Leeds to have a lung removed,

an operation which may have

saved his life.

Ray, now 77, said: “Lung

cancer doesn’t necessarily

mean the end – I’m living proof

of that because it’s now 16 years

since I was diagnosed. I had

my right lung removed in 1998

and I haven’t looked back – life

is just at a slower pace than it

used to be.

“My advice to anyone who

thinks they have any signs or

symptoms of lung cancer is to

just go straight to your GP and

get yourself checked out.”

Since his surgery, he has

become closely involved

with a group helping other

patients, Leeds Lung Cancer

and Mesothelioma Patient

Support.

Ray added: “When people

are diagnosed with lung cancer,

they can be quite traumatised

because they think they are

going to die. Having the support

of others goes a long way to

help get through it.”

He says that if he had

ignored the blood he spotted,

he may well not have survived.

In Leeds, about 500 people

a year are diagnosed with lung

cancer amd it is believed that

in general, three-quarters of

patients are not diagnosed

until the disease is already in

the advanced stages and much

harder to treat. Many don’t

live for more than a year after

receiving their diagnosis.

Dr Mat Callister, consultant

respiratory physician from

Leeds Teaching Hospitals, said:

“Lung cancer is one of the most

common and serious types of

cancer in the UK. This is why

it’s hugely important for people

to be aware of the symptoms

and that they visit their GP as

soon as they notice something

is wrong.

“Like all cancers early

diagnosis is vital and improves

the chance of survival

significantly. When lung cancer

is diagnosed in its early stages,

there are more treatment

options and treatment is likely

to be more successful.”

● Over 50s living in Leeds who

have had any of the symptoms

of lung cancer can attend a free

walk-in screening service at

Seacroft Hospital or St George’s

Centre in Middleton without an

appointment.

Anyone aged under 50 who

has had a cough for more than

three weeks should speak to

their GP or call NHS 111.

SIGNS TO

WATCH FOR

● a continuing cough, or

change in a long-standing

cough, or pain when coughing

● becoming breathless and

wheezy

● coughing up bloodstained

phlegm

● chest or shoulder pain

● a chest infection that

doesn’t get better

● difficulty swallowing

● feeling extremely tired and

lethargic or weight loss

● the ends of fingers

becoming larger or looking

more rounded

● swelling of lymph nodes in

the neck area

“Lung cancer

doesn’t

necessarily mean

the end.”

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