New Lung Cancer Campaign Urges Over 40s to Act if They Have Symptoms

NHS Forth Valley is encouraging people who have tested negative for COVID-19, but have a persistent new or different cough for three weeks or more, to contact their GP practice.

The Health Board is backing the new Scottish Government Detect Cancer Early campaign, as national statistics show around 25 per cent fewer lung cancers are being diagnosed now, compared to pre-COVID-19.

The advertising campaign targets those aged 40 and over, urging them not to put off contacting their GP practice if they have any possible cancer symptoms.

Lung cancer is the most common cancer in Scotland, with around 5,000 people diagnosed each year.

However, more can be done to treat the disease if it’s found at an early stage – and recently published cancer survival statistics show improvements in five-year survival rates for both men and women (2.3 per cent and 5.1 percent respectively).

Signs and symptoms of lung cancer people aged 40 and over should get checked include:

  • A persistent new or different cough you’ve had for 3 weeks or more, after testing negative for COVID-19
  • Feeling breathless or more breathless than usual for no reason
  • A chest infection that doesn’t clear up
  • Coughing up blood
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Chest or shoulder pains
  • Unexplained tiredness or lack of energy
  • A (new) hoarse voice

Jennifer Wilson, Lead Macmillan Lung Cancer Nurse Specialist, NHS Forth Valley, said:

“Early detection is key in diagnosing and treating lung cancer. Although our services in NHS Forth Valley are working differently we are still seeing new lung cancer patients on a weekly basis.

“I would encourage anyone with a potential lung cancer symptom to see advice from their local GP practice.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:

“Diagnosing and treating cancer has been and will remain a key priority throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Early detection is key and we’re encouraging people, especially those aged over 40, to contact their GP practice if they’ve tested negative for COVID-19, but have a persistent new or different cough that’s lasted three weeks or more.

“I want to reassure people that whilst the NHS is working differently, and they may not be able to see their GP in person, their practice is there to help them access key tests and support them through the process.

“Please don’t delay seeking help as the earlier lung cancer is found the better, and a lot can be done to treat it.”

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