Lung cancer early warning signs advice

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PEOPLE are being urged to check for tell-tale signs of lung cancer as part of a hard-hitting health campaign in Hartlepool.

Lung cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosed in the UK after breast cancer. Around 41,000 people were diagnosed with lung cancer in the UK in 2008. That’s 112 people every day.

lung cancer survivor Eleanor Fairlie

lung cancer survivor Eleanor Fairlie

As part of the Be Clear on Cancer Campaign, NHS Hartlepool is working in partnership with agencies across the town to increase awareness.

The main cause is smoking. Although some people who have never smoked can get lung cancer, smoking causes 9 out of 10 cases.

Cigarette smoking is the main cause of lung cancer. But pipe and cigar smokers are still much more likely to get lung cancer than non smokers. Passive smoking – breathing in other people’s cigarette smoke – also increases the risk of lung cancer.

Stopping smoking can dramatically reduce the risk of lung cancer. It is always worth giving up, no matter how old you are, but the earlier the better.

Quitting smoking can be hard, but free services and treatments are available to help and these have been shown to improve the chances of quitting successfully.

Several other factors can increase the risk of lung cancer including exposure to certain chemicals, previous lung disease, or a family history of lung cancer. You could quit smoking today with support from your NHS Stop Smoking Service.

Lung cancer survivor Eleanor Fairlie, from Tyneside, is supporting the new Be Clear on Cancer campaign in a bid to encourage people to know the symptoms.

The former civil servant has been in remission for two years after having the cancerous lower lobe of her left lung removed.

The mother-of-one had been a light smoker for fifty years and she developed an unusual cough.

She said: “When you hear the consultant saying ‘I’m sorry, it’s cancer,’ you go into shock. I didn’t think anything, my mind was blank – you don’t know what to think other than it’s cancer.

“I cannot praise the NHS enough and all the Macmillan Nurses too.

“They really were amazing and they didn’t judge me – I just love them!

“I feel lucky that they caught it early and treated me quickly and that at 70 they have given me a few more years, which is a bonus. 

“The campaign Be Clear on Cancer is a great idea as I am living proof that if cancer is caught early, it can be treated and could save your life.”

For information on the NHS Stop Smoking Service in Hartlepool call (01642) 635650.