Health chiefs’ warnings over lung cancer

Over the shoulder shot of a patient in consultation with a young male doctor
Over the shoulder shot of a patient in consultation with a young male doctor

A visit to the doctor could save the lives of people with the early signs of lung cancer, health professionals in East Sussex have said.

East Sussex County Council and local clinical commissioning groups are supporting a national NHS initiative aimed at increasing early diagnosis of the disease.

The latest phase of the Be Clear On Cancer campaign aims to raise awareness of the signs of lung cancer – particularly a cough that lasts for three weeks or more – and to encourage people with symptoms to visit their GP.

More than 350 people in East Sussex are diagnosed with lung cancer every year, with the majority of cases occurring in people aged over 50. The disease has one of the lowest survival rates of any cancer because two thirds of patients are diagnosed at a late stage when treatment that could cure them is not possible.

Research has shown that public awareness of the early signs and symptoms of lung cancer is low, while people often expect symptoms of cancer to be obvious and painful, discounting the first signs of the disease which could lead to earlier diagnosis.

Dr Martin Writer, chairman of the Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford Clinical Commissioning Group, said, “Lung cancer has one of the lowest survival rates of any cancer – but if it’s detected early enough it can be treated and people can go on to have a good quality of life.

“A persistent cough which has lasted longer than three weeks could have a number of causes but people should not be afraid to visit their doctor. It’s better to be safe than sorry and if someone does have lung cancer, the earlier it is diagnosed, the better the chance they have of it being successfully treated.”