Tomorrow is Lung Cancer Awareness Day 2017 so Leicester’s Hospitals’ Lung cancer nurses have organised an East Midlands Lung Cancer Awareness day at Loughborough University on 17 November from 9am-4pm in the Students Union.
The day is part of lung cancer awareness month and this year it is being held at the University to show students the importance of looking after your lungs. Students, members of the Public and also the local healthcare system are all invited to learn about early signs and symptom recognition of lung cancer. The team have a pair of giant inflatable lungs to grab people’s attention and to be used as a learning tool.
Other attendees at the event include Macmillan, Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, and the Leicester Smoking cessation team. This is the main event in the East Midlands, whilst events are also taking place across other regions of the country.
Sue Manship, Smoking Cessation Specialist at Leicester’s Hospitals, said: “Most cases of lung cancer are caused by smoking, although people who have never smoked can also develop the condition. Smoking is responsible for more than 85% of all cases. If you smoke, the best way to prevent lung cancer and other serious conditions is to stop smoking as soon as possible. Speak to the team at the event for more information about available support.”
Sharon Savory, Lung Cancer Nurse Specialist at Leicester’s Hospitals, explained why she set up the event: “November is lung cancer awareness month and in the East Midlands we like to raise awareness of the disease and promote early symptom recognition and better outcomes with early detection.
“We have over the last few years held the event in the city centre but after two years of getting soaking wet and having soggy leaflets we decided to go for an indoor venue!!! We want to show the students at the University how to love their lungs, look after them and recognise any changes in their health relating to the lungs. As a team we look forward to awareness month as it is our chance to show case lung cancer and how well people can respond if referred early.”
Lorraine Dallas, Director of Information and Support Services at Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, added: “Lung health is vital. Too few people properly understand that if you have lungs, you can get lung cancer. It can affect anyone, regardless of lifestyle, fitness and background. It’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms to look out for, because early detection is the key to getting effective treatment”.
With Lung Cancer Awareness Month well underway we would like to share a recent interview conducted by PatientTalk.Org with Charles De Wet, Medical director of Boehringer Ingelheim and Lorraine Dallas, director of information and support with the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation.
Lung Cancer is the most common cancer in the world. In the UK, around 41,500 new cases are diagnosed each year. It is the most common cause of cancer death in the UK, for both men and women.
Everyone is at risk of developing lung cancer. It is known that smokers and ex-smokers have an increased risk of getting lung cancer. However, although most lung cancers are related to smoking, 10% of people with lung cancer have never smoked.
Other factors that increase the risk of developing lung cancer disease include exposure to chemicals found in the workplace or environment, such as: asbestos, radon, diesel exhaust fumes, synthetic fibres and many others.
More than 80% of people diagnosed with lung cancer are over the age of 60.
The common signs and symptoms of lung cancer are listed below. There may be several reasons why a person might be experiencing these symptoms, and it may be nothing serious. However, if they have any of the following symptoms for more than three weeks, they should make an appointment with your GP to get it checked out.
• • A cough that doesn’t go away
• • A worsening of a long standing cough
• • Unexplained breathlessness
• • Chest infections
• • Coughing up blood
• • Unexplained weight loss
• • Chest and/or shoulder pains
• • Unexplained tiredness
Katherine Vine conducted the interview for PatientTalk.Org.
VINE Thank you both so much for joining us today Lorraine and Charles, Lorraine can I start by asking you how common is lung cancer in the UK.
DALLAS It’s one of the three most common cancers and around forty thousand people in the UK are diagnosed with lung cancer each year.
VINE Now smoking is obviously one of the biggest risk factors but is there anything non-smokers need to be worrying about as well?
DALLAS Although lung cancer is most commonly associated with smoking we know that around ten to fifteen percent of people who develop lung cancer have never been smokers so if you have lungs you have a risk of developing lung cancer so all of us have to be aware and be vigilant about it and increasingly nowadays people may have given up smoking many years before and then go on to develop symptoms so as I said if you have lungs its worth considering the risk of lung cancer.
VINE Charles can I just ask you what are the symptoms of lung cancer?
DE WET I think one of the problems is that the symptoms of lung cancer can be very non-specific in the early stages if the disease but typically the worsening of a long standing cough, unexplained breathlessness, chest infections, coughing up blood, unexplained weight loss, chest or shoulder pains and unexplained tiredness or lack of energy and even a hoarse voice should alert the patient that something is not right. Especially a cough that would last more than three weeks, I think these things do need to be brought to the attention of the patients GP.
VINE And do you think that when it comes to the winter months people might just put symptoms to the side just thinking “oh its winter, it’s just a change in temperature its nothing to worry about, I’ll be alright and just worry about it later on if it continues” and then weeks go by and symptoms kind of slightly get out of control without even realising it, something that started off with coughing for a week has snow balled into a longer period of time and you are not really even aware of it , would that be true ?
DE WET Yes that is typically what would happen in many cases and again I think that’s why it’s so important if something really persists for three weeks or longer and its accompanied by weight loss I think for definitely for a patient is fifty or sixty years plus they really should make the appointment with their GP as I think it’s better to be safe than sorry as these things do need to be checked out. It’s important because the earlier we can catch the lung cancer the earlier we can make the diagnosis and the better chance that the people have to make an impact.
VINE – And would you say it’s important when you start experiencing symptoms with any illness in particular to take note and maybe keep a diary of the symptoms so you can actually see yourself how they are processing and therefore if it is worth seeking medical attention?
DE WET That would be extremely good advice for all patients to do. It’s certainly would be extremely helpful for the healthcare professional looking after the patient. If a patient can come to you with some objective history of the patient, of the symptoms.
H- Now Lorraine its Lung Cancer Awareness Month. What is the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation doing to mark the occasion?
DALLAS Well this is a really important time of the year for us because it’s a chance to alert the public about the signs and symptoms of lung cancer. We are delighted to have the sponsorship of Boehringer and we have our mega lungs tour and this is a set of giant inflatable lungs which are currently on a 10 date tour of England in various shopping centres and malls. We also supply information packs around lung cancer awareness month on our website and draws attention to some of the resources available. It’s about getting people talking as Charles has said these are vague symptoms that people might associate with a cold of the bad weather but what we want to remind people is that if they have any concerns to go see their GP. If something’s not right, if it persists for a long time, then an early diagnosis does mean there are more effective treatments available and lung cancer can be treated effectively.
H-Thank you both so much for joining us today. If people would like more information where should they go?
DALLAS Well they can contact Roy Castle via our website: www.roycastle.org