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Be aware of the signs – Lung Cancer Awareness Month 2013

 

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month and local clinical leaders from NHS Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are raising awareness of lung cancer symptoms to encourage people with a persistent cough to contact their GP early.

Lung cancer is a major cause of death across the district – it claims around 130 lives in Calderdale each year. It is the most common cause of death from cancer for both men and women, claiming almost 35,000 lives a year. Early detection of lung cancer makes it more treatable, so encouraging people to recognise symptoms such as a persistent cough and see their doctor sooner could save lives.

Dr Nigel Taylor, respiratory lead, NHS Calderdale CCG, said: “In the UK, more people die from lung cancer than any other cancer and we know they have a better chance of survival the earlier the cancer is diagnosed.

“We are extremely keen to raise awareness about the signs and symptoms of this disease and encourage our patients to seek help earlier.

“The message is simple: if you have a persistent cough for three weeks or more, visit your GP. This simple step could save your life.”

If you have any of the following symptoms for more than three weeks, make an appointment with your GP today:

• a persistent cough for three weeks or more
• a cough that has got worse or changes
• repeated chest infections
• coughing up blood
• breathlessness
• feeling more tired than usual for some time
• losing weight for no obvious reason
• an ache or pain in your chest or shoulder that has lasted some time.

The best way to prevent lung cancer and other serious conditions is to stop smoking as soon as possible. It is always worth quitting. For every year a person does not smoke, their risk of getting serious illnesses, such as lung cancer, will decrease. After 10 years of not smoking, the chances of developing lung cancer falls to half that of a smoker.

To get help to quit, call the Calderdale specialist NHS stop smoking service on: 01422 281505 or email: help.2quit@swyt.nhs.uk. Further information can also be found on their website www.calderdalestopsmoking.co.uk.

Research suggests that eating a low-fat, high-fibre diet, including at least five portions a day of fresh fruit and vegetables and plenty of whole grains can help people reduce the risk of lung cancer, as well as other types of cancer and heart disease.

There is strong evidence to suggest that regular exercise can lower the risk of developing lung cancer and other types of cancer. Adults should do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week.

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