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Be alert to symptoms of lung cancer, new campaign urges

NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is supporting the NHS’s Be Clear on Cancer lung cancer campaign launched earlier this month. The campaign will run from 2 July to 11 August 2013 and is taking place across England.

Around 34,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer in England every year, with the majority of cases occurring in those over the age of 50. Lung cancer has one of the lowest survival rates of any cancer because over two-thirds of patients are diagnosed at a late stage when treatment that could cure is not possible. More lives could be saved if people were diagnosed at an earlier stage. If survival rates for lung cancer in England matched the best in Europe, it is estimated that an extra 1,300 lives could be saved each year.

A cough that lasts for three weeks or more is the most common symptom of lung cancer. Other symptoms include:

• A cough that has got worse or changes
• Coughing up blood
• Breathlessness
• Feeling more tired than usual for some time
• Losing weight for no obvious reason
• An ache or pain in the chest or shoulder that has lasted some time

Dr Mark Hayes, a GP in Tadcaster and Chief Clinical Officer of Vale of York CCG, said:

“It is important for people to be aware of the symptoms of lung cancer - if you have a cough that lasts over three weeks then see your doctor. Early diagnosis means you have a better chance of survival.

“It’s very straightforward for your doctor to examine you and determine whether to send you for a chest X-ray. The process is simple and if your doctor suspects it might be cancer you will see a specialist within two weeks. They would then arrange for further tests and, if necessary, treatment.

“You’re not wasting anyone’s time by getting your symptoms checked out – it might be a sign of something else that needs treatment. And if your symptoms persist, go back to your doctor – they’ll want to help.”

For further information about the signs and symptoms of lung cancer, visit

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