Macmillan’s lung cancer team in Grantham is urging the public to be aware of signs and symptoms, and play their part in fighting the UK’s most lethal cancer for Lung Cancer Awareness month.
Over 35,000 people in the UK die from lung cancer every year, but the charity says it doesn’t have to be a death sentence.
Kate Taft, Macmillan lung nurse based at Grantham and District Hospital, said: “119 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.”
Kate added: “Seventy seven per cent of lung cancer patients have said they are unaware of the signs and symptoms, and that means many are being diagnosed too late for curative treatment. It’s really vital that more people are educated – getting people to their GPs when symptoms occur could mean earlier diagnosis and a better prognosis.”
There are some common symptoms often displayed by patients with lung cancer. These symptoms can all be caused by other illnesses too, but if they occur for three weeks or more it’s always advisable to speak to your GP about them.
· a continuing cough, or change in a long-standing cough
· becoming breathless and wheezy
· coughing up bloodstained phlegm (sputum)
· chest or shoulder pain
· weight loss
· a chest infection that doesn’t get better
· a hoarse voice
· a dull ache or sharp pain when you cough or take a deep breath
· difficulty swallowing
· feeling extremely tired (fatigue) and lethargic
· the ends of fingers becoming larger or looking more rounded (clubbing)
· swelling of lymph nodes (glands) in the neck area
Kate said: “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. It’s important for everyone to know the facts.”
Macmillan Cancer Support is only able to fund posts like Kate’s thanks to the generosity of those who fundraise and give their time to help.
To support Macmillan in Lincolnshire, contact the Fundraising Support Centre on 0300 1000 200 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have any worries or questions about lung cancer, visit www.macmillan.org.uk or call Macmillan free on 0808 808 00 00.