Crusade to prevent deaths from biggest cancer killer

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HEALTH chiefs are warning Wiganers not to ignore a persistent cough after it was revealed that only 18 per cent of people survive the borough’s biggest cancer killer

Every year, hundreds of Wiganers are diagnosed with a lung tumor and health chiefs say it is often diagnosed too late to be able to treat patients effectively.

The news has prompted health chiefs to run a new awareness campaign and they say that anyone with a cough that has lasted for three weeks or more should see a doctor.

The Be Clear on Cancer crusade, which first ran in summer 2012, aims to make people aware of the symptoms of lung cancer and encourage them to visit their GP if they have had a cough for three weeks or more.

Paul Johnstone, the Regional Director of Public Health for North England said: “The figures from Wigan and the North of England show that more needs to be done to raise awareness of the signs of lung cancer and ultimately save more lives.

“Results from previous activity in the North are really encouraging but awareness levels of a persistent cough as a symptom of lung cancer are still low. 

“Only by increasing awareness of potential symptoms, and encouraging people to visit their doctor sooner rather than later, will we see the number of early diagnoses, and people surviving the disease, start to rise.

“There will be local events to raise awareness in the coming weeks but, if you spot any of the symptoms do visit your GP.”

England’s biggest cancer killer, it claims 28,000 lives a year, partly because it is often diagnosed too late.

The main symptom is a chronic cough - although most instances of this will not be due to cancer.

Sean Duffy, National Clinical Director for Cancer at NHS England said: “Awareness campaigns like this are especially important in getting people with potential symptoms into doctors’ surgeries.

“During the regional pilot, trusts saw a 14 per cent increase in lung cancer cases diagnosed compared with a year earlier.

“However, more needs to be done for our survival rates to be as good as the best in Europe.

“If they were, it is estimated that around 1,300 deaths could be avoided each year.”

The Be Clear on Cancer campaign will see adverts – fronted by real GPs – on TV, print and radio from today until mid-August.

Face-to-face events will also take place in shopping centres across the country.