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Be Clear On Cancer – Respiratory Symptoms

Lambeth Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is supporting Public Health England's latest Be Clear on Cancer push over this summer which emphasises respiratory symptom awareness.

If you have a persistent cough lasting over three weeks or experience breathlessness when completing everyday tasks you may be exhibiting the early signs of lung disease, including cancer.

More than 70% of all premature deaths in England are attributed to cardiovascular disease (CVD), respiratory disease and cancer – that's over 100,000 people a year. Late diagnosis and late treatment are common in each of these conditions.

"People aged 50 and over are at greater risk of having undiagnosed respiratory problems and make up 97 per cent of lung cancer diagnoses, so it's particularly important if you fall within this age group to get any unusual symptoms checked out,"  explains Dr Adrian McLachlan, Chair of NHS Lambeth CCG.

"Far from simply being about nagging smokers, in addition to considering lifestyle factors this campaign is also about recognising how our environment impacts our bodies. When people notice a physical change it is important they have information to seek help when and where it is needed."

Fittingly, 12 – 16 June was the British Lung Foundation's Breathe Easy week, which focused on and air pollution and clean air this year. Poor air quality is a major factor in the premature deaths of up to 40,000 people in the UK per year and it is easy to underestimate exactly how much air pollution exacerbates symptoms for many people with pre-existing respiratory conditions. 

If you've had a persistent cough lasting more than three weeks or inappropriate breathlessness, make an appointment to speak to your GP.

You can find out more about the Be Clear on Cancer campaign on their website.