November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month and local GPs are encouraging people to see their doctor if they have any of the warning symptoms or signs. Catching lung cancer as early as possible is key to a patient’s survival.
More than 46,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer in the UK every year and this number is on the rise.
The warning signs and symptoms of lung cancer to look out for include:
- a persistent cough
- a change to your usual cough
- a chest infection that doesn’t get better
- feeling breathless for no reason
- coughing up blood
- a new ache or pain in your chest or your shoulder
- unexplained tiredness
- losing your appetite or weight loss
Dr Tania Anastasiadis, a local GP and Clinical Lead for Cancer at NHS Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “The earlier you see your GP, the earlier we can help or refer you to a specialist if it is something serious such as lung cancer. Whilst coughs seem to be common this time of year, a cough or chest infection that lasts longer than three weeks could be a sign of something more serious.
“If you have any of the symptoms, please book an appointment to see your GP to discuss them, and if you know anyone who has any of these symptoms, encourage them to see their doctor.
“Around 28% of lung cancers in Tower Hamlets are diagnosed in A&E rather than through a GP and these patients have some of the worst outcomes. It’s really important that people go to their doctor as soon as they are concerned about their symptoms and not wait until they are unwell with them. Finding lung cancer early means it’s more likely to be treatable.”
A good way to prevent lung cancer is to stop smoking and keep healthy. 85% of lung cancer is caused by smoking or exposure to second hand smoke.
Dr Anastasiadis added: “Prevention really is better than cure so we would strongly recommend stopping smoking, eating healthily, taking regular exercise, reducing alcohol intake and maintaining a healthy weight. Not only will these changes reduce the risk of developing cancer but also the risk of other disease such as diabetes and heart disease.”
Visit www.nhs.uk for more advice on the symptoms of lung cancer.