NHS warns people not to ignore common lung cancer symptoms

‘It probably won’t be cancer but catching it early can help save lives,’ says national clinical director for cancer

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The NHS has launched a campaign to mark World Lung Cancer Day, urging those with symptoms to get them checked out immediately.

The Help Us Help You campaign is aimed at those who are at the highest risk for developing the disease, specifically those aged 60 and over and people who are reluctant to visit their GP.

It is about reminding people that lung cancer is the biggest cause of cancer-related deaths in England and the fifth biggest cause of death overall, with more than 26,000 patients dying of the condition in 2021.

Symptoms include: persistent breathlessness, chest infections that keep coming back, coughing up blood, and loss of appetite.

Professor Peter Johnson, national clinical director for cancer, said: “For lung cancer, we have not seen referrals bounce back at the same rate as other cancers.

“It is vital that people stay alert against suspected lung cancer symptoms, so if you have a continuous cough or breathlessness, don’t ignore or assume it’s something else, please visit your GP and get it checked out – it probably won’t be cancer but catching it early can help save lives.”

Health Secretary Steve Barclay added: “We know that the earlier you catch cancer, the better the chances of survival, and the Help Us Help You initiative is empowering people to come forward for screening – particularly for lung cancer, which is the biggest cause of death by cancer in England.

“I want to thank all those that continue to be involved in this lifesaving campaign, which aims to increase the number of cancer patients diagnosed at earlier stages from half to three-quarters by 2028.

“If you have any of the key symptoms set out by the NHS, I urge you to see your GP without delay to get checked out – early diagnosis is absolutely vital to beat this disease.”

Additional reporting by PA

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