Survival rates for lung cancer are lower in mid Essex compared to the national average.
That’s why, at the start of Lung Cancer Awareness Month, which runs throughout November, Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) wants to encourage everyone locally to be aware of signs and symptoms and to help improve rates of early diagnosis.
Dr Elizabeth Towers, a Macmillan and local GP and the CCG’s Clinical Lead for Cancer, explained: “One year lung cancer survival for people living locally currently stands at just under 31 per cent – we need to improve this and early diagnosis is key.
“We know that around seven in 10 patients will survive their disease for at least one year if it diagnosed early, compared to just over one in 10 diagnosed at the latest stage.
“We want people to know the signs and symptoms of lung cancer and to get checked out if they have any changes to their health or body that are unusual or won’t go away.”
What should you look out for?
· A cough that won’t go away
· A change in a cough you have had for a long time
· Being short of breath
· Coughing up blood
· An ache or pain in your chest or shoulder
· Unexplained tiredness or weight loss
· Loss of appetite
Maria Curtis, Macmillan Information Service Team Leader at Mid Essex Hospital Trust, said: “If you have symptoms, don’t ignore them, see your doctor. If you do have cancer, the sooner it’s found, the better.”
If you need support or just want to talk pop into the Macmillan Information Pod in the atrium at Broomfield Hospital (Mon-Fri 9am to 4pm). You can also call the Macmillan Support Line free on 0808 808 00 00 or visit www.macmillan.org.uk
Anyone can develop lung cancer but smoking is the main cause and is linked to more than eight in 10 cases in the UK. It’s never too late to quit and people in mid Essex can access free help and support by calling 0800 085 2113 or visiting www.quitnobutts.org.uk or www.essexlifestyleservice.org.uk for more information about the stop smoking service.