North Yorkshire County Council is asking people to take notice of a new campaign from Public Health England (PHE) and be clear about the symptoms associated with lung diseases, including lung cancer – and see their doctor as soon as they have any concerns about their health.

Public Health England is running a new Be Clear on Cancer campaign which highlights that if you have a cough for three weeks or more, or if you get out of breath doing everyday things that you used to be able to do, it could be a sign of lung or heart disease, or even cancer. Finding it early makes it more treatable, so don’t ignore it, tell your doctor.

Whilst it may well be nothing serious, the campaign makes it clear that if you have either of these symptoms you should go to your doctor. Don’t put getting out of breath down to something else like getting older, being overweight or smoking. Finding heart and lung conditions early leads to more effective treatment and better quality of life.

“Lung cancer and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary diseases (COPD) are the main causes of death from lung disease in England today,” said County Councillor Caroline Dickinson, Executive Member for Public Health.

“In 2013-15 there were 1315 new diagnoses of lung cancer in North Yorkshire, and there are many more people living with the disease who haven’t yet asked their doctor for help and advice.”

Clare Beard, Consultant in Public Health for North Yorkshire, said: “Research shows that many people don’t think that a persistent cough or breathlessness when they’re doing day to day activities like mowing the lawn or vacuuming are serious symptoms. They often think they are the side effects of smoking, getting older or putting on weight, for example, and don’t go to their doctor to get checked out. This means they can miss out being examined, tested, diagnosed and given the best possible treatment.

“It’s important to remember that the earlier lung cancer and COPD are diagnosed, the more effective treatment can be. People who are diagnosed after an emergency admission to hospital have a much lower rate of survival – that national figure is 13%, compared to 43% for those who are diagnosed following a fast-track referral to a consultant by their GP.”

For further information, go to www.nhs.uk/be-clear-on-cancer or search ‘Be Clear on Cancer’ on the web.

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