Lung Cancer is the UK’s third most common cancer, and accounts for around 13% of all cancers
While anyone can get lung cancer, it has a very strong link with smoking. Cancer Research UK estimates that smoking is directly linked to 86% of lung cancers.
There are other environmental factors that can contribute to a higher risk of lung cancer, including air pollution, ionising radiation and certain substances found in the workplace, for example asbestos.
As with all cancers, we do not know what causes every case of lung cancer.
The best thing you can do to reduce your risk of lung cancer is to stop smoking.
For information on NHS support available to stop smoking please click here.
Symptoms of lung cancer include:
A persistent cough- the NHS’s Be Clear on Cancer campaign encourages all of us to go to the doctor if we experience a cough for three weeks or more.
Change in your cough. If you are a smoker, you may have a regular ‘smoker’s cough’. If this becomes more painful, sounds different, or brings up mucus or phlegm that is unusual for you, go to your GP.
Breathlessness- if you find you are getting out of breath doing things that you are normally able to do.
Coughing up blood- this might only be a small amount.
Chest or shoulder pain or ache
Loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss.
Feeling very tired.
Having a persistent chest infection that does not get better with treatment.
There is no screening programme for lung cancer. If you are worried about lung cancer please go and see your GP, particularly if you have any of the risk symptoms described above.
There are support groups and sources of information available if you are concerned about lung cancer. To find a local support group please go to our support directory.
Your general health and wellbeing is important. You may find that holistic therapies, counselling or social activities help you to stay well during your experience with cancer. For information on local health and wellbeing services please click here.
For more information about lung cancer, here’s some useful links:
Only 5 out of 100 people will survive 10 years or more following a diagnosis of lung cancer. Prevention is by far the best course of action to protect yourself against the disease. However, the chance of successful treatment is much higher if the cancer is diagnosed early. So please:
Go and see your GP if you are concerned- remember, you are not wasting their time!