A CHARITY is concerned that women do not know the signs of lung cancer – despite dozens being diagnosed with the disease in Hartlepool each year.
An average of 99 people a year are told they have lung cancer in the NHS Hartlepool area, with 46 of those being women.
But a poll by Macmillan Cancer Support revealed that only six per cent of the women they questioned said they were confident of spotting lung cancer symptoms, despite it being the single biggest cancer killer.
NHS Stockton, which covers Billingham, Wolviston and parts of Wynyard, has an average of 149 people diagnosed each year with 64 female while NHS County Durham, which covers Peterlee and east Durham, 498, with 227 being women.
Kim Hardwick, senior cancer information nurse at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “This is worrying, especially as the number of women diagnosed with lung cancer is increasing every year whereas for men the numbers are in decline.
“Lung cancer is often diagnosed at a late stage when curative treatment is no longer possible.
“It’s so important that women – particularly those that smoke – are aware of the symptoms of lung cancer and see their doctor promptly.
“Diagnosis at an earlier stage could save your life.”
The poll of 1,000 women revealed that 80 per cent believe they could spot the signs of breast cancer and 11 per cent bowel cancer.
Despite lung cancer having the highest mortality rate of all cancers, half of the women asked feared getting breast cancer most compared to a quarter who said lung cancer.
The symptoms of lung cancer include:
l A continuing cough or a change in a long-standing cough pattern;
l Coughing up blood-stained phlegm;
l A dull ache, or a sharp pain, when you cough or take a deep breath;
l Increasing breathlessness or wheezing;
l A hoarse voice.
Those who think they may have a symptom are urged to see their GP.