LONDON: A new survey timed to coincide with Lung Cancer Awareness Month found that only a small minority of people in the UK realize that a persistent cough is a key symptom of lung cancer.
In a bid to raise awareness of early symptoms of lung cancer as the season for flus and colds sets in, people are urged to seek help if they find themselves unable to shake off a persistent cough: it could be a sign of something more serious.
A Royal Pharmaceutical Society/YouGov survey of over 2,000 adults in the UK found that only 33 per cent of people questioned identified a cough as a warning sign or symptom of lung cancer, while as few as a further 11 per cent specifically mentioned a "persistent cough", which is a key symptom.
In the UK, lung cancer is the second most common cancer in men, after prostate cancer, and also the second most common in women, after breast cancer. It accounts for more than 1 in 5 cancer deaths, that is more than 35,200 people a year or 95 people a day.
Worldwide, lung cancer is the most common cancer: in 2008 it is estimated that 1.6 million new cases were diagnosed and 1.38 million people died of the disease.
However, early detection of lung cancer can save lives, says Graham Phillips, who is a community pharmacist and Board member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.
"When symptoms are present and recognised at an early stage, treatment is much more likely to be successful," he added, which is why the Society is trying to get people to realize the importance of getting a persistent cough checked out.
When people get a cough that won't clear up, they tend to buy cough medicines, or even iron tablets if they also find themselves feeling tired and low in energy.
Phillips urges people to talk to their pharmacist if they find themselves doing this.
"We can discuss your symptoms with you and help you understand you may have an underlying problem that needs checking out with your GP," he explained in a press statement.
Phillips said pharmacists have an important role to play in helping to spot the early signs of lung cancer and other serious lung problems.
This role appears to be welcome by the public too, because nearly 4 out 5 people surveyed said they would like their local pharmacists to talk to them if they were showing any signs of lung cancer before they had noticed them, and over 9 out of 10 acknowledged that catching the disease in the early stages is important to ensure treatment is effective.
Phillips said whatever the time of year, if you have symptoms of cold or flu that won't go away, such as a persistent cough, chest infection, or keep losing your voice, or you feel breathless, tired and lacking in energy, then instead of reaching for the over-the-counter remedy, you should ask your pharmacist's advice.
The key signs of lung cancer
A cough that does not clear and persists for more than three weeks.
A long-standing cough that gets worse or changes.
Persistent or repeated chest infections.
Persistent and unexplained breathlessness.
Coughing up blood, or blood in the phlegm.
Feeling tired or lacking in energy for no apparent reason.
Unexplained and persistent weight loss.
Persistent pain in the chest and/or shoulder.
Persistent and unexplained hoarseness or loss of voice.
Unexplained swelling of the face or neck.
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Join date : 2011-02-24