On July 14, 2016, Public Health England launched a new campaign that aims to combat cancer by creating awareness about the possible symptoms of lung cancer. The campaign is called ‘Be Clear on Cancer’ and also creates awareness about heart disease and lung disease. The three diseases are England’s main causes of death.
Figures show that lung cancer diagnosis is on the rise with the South West area recording 3,628 patients in 2014. Unfortunately, 2,774 people died of lung cancer in the same year. This figure could significantly be reduced by early diagnosis. About 103,819 people were diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). COPD is a type of lung cancer, which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
Importance of Early Diagnosis
The importance of early diagnosis cannot be overstressed enough. It is a key difference between life and death. Out of those diagnosed with lung cancer in their first stage, 83 percent will extend their lifespan after diagnosis for at least one year. By stage four, this figure drastically drops to a paltry 17 percent.
Early diagnosis also improves the patient’s quality of life especially for those diagnosed with COPD. In England, lung cancer is actually the leading cancer killer. It accounts for over 28,400 deaths annually while COPD causes another 24,000 deaths every year. The biggest killer disease in the country is coronary heart disease which accounts for more than 56,000 deaths annually.
Common Symptoms of Lung Cancer
One common sign of this killer disease, that is often overlooked, is a persistent cough. That coupled with feeling out of breath after doing simple tasks like vacuuming or lawn mowing could be indicative of lung cancer or another disease for example heart disease. The campaign encourages people who are experiencing these symptoms to see a GP as soon as possible to get treatment.
Be Clear on Lung Cancer mainly targets women and men over 50 years old because they are more prone to suffering from COPD, lung cancer or heart disease. By targeting the symptoms of lung cancer early, the campaign aims to significantly reduce lung cancer fatalities and educate people in the process.
According to Dr. Hilary Jones from Media Medic, many people put off seeking medical checkups for several personal reasons. Some are ignorant of common symptoms like breathlessness while others are afraid of what they may find out. The campaign, Be Clear on Cancer, will run up to October 16, 2016.