The new ‘Be Clear on Cancer’ campaign by Public Health England has launched in the North East and is calling for people to see their GP if they experience a cough that has lasted for three weeks or more, or if they get breathless doing things they used to be able to do.
The call comes as survey reveals that people in Durham are far more likely to encourage others to seek medical help than to visit the GP themselves. Early diagnosis can save lives and improve the quality of life of those living with conditions, such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), a common form of lung disease that includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
The most recent data shows that in the North East there are over 89,233 people who have been diagnosed with COPD and 141,112 people who have been diagnosed with coronary heart disease (CHD), the main type of heart disease. In 2015, 3,182 people were diagnosed with lung cancer.
Suzanne, from Newton Aycliffe was diagnosed with lung cancer in November 2016. She had a pain in her side and while visiting the GP about this, she mentioned that she’d had a tickly cough for about four months and she’d recently seen a Be Clear on Cancer advert on the television that encouraged you to tell your doctor if you’d had a cough for three weeks or more.
The pain in Suzanne’s side was unrelated to the cough she was experiencing. Her doctor referred her for tests and an x-ray which showed that she had a shadow on her left lung. Suzanne had an operation to remove her left lung in December 2016, followed by chemotherapy.
Suzanne said: “I would encourage anyone who was experiencing a persistent cough to visit their GP. While it might not be anything to worry about, it is much better to get it checked out and to remain positive.”