HEALTH experts in the North West are encouraging people with symptoms such as a long-standing persistent cough, to contact their GP practice for potentially lifesaving checks in its latest campaign to catch lung cancer earlier when it is easier to treat.
The launch of the latest Help Us Help You campaign comes after figures suggest people at risk of lung cancer may not be coming forward for care despite it being the biggest cause of cancer deaths in England.
While most other cancer referrals quickly returned to pre-pandemic levels after the first wave of Covid-19, lung cancer referrals only returned to pre-pandemic levels in May 2022.
Cancer health chiefs are warning the public to contact their GP team if they have had a persistent cough for longer than three weeks or notice other symptoms like coughing up blood or persistent breathlessness.
Around 8,496 cases of lung cancer are diagnosed in the North West every year. Lung cancer is one of the most serious type of cancers and last year was the fifth biggest cause of death in England accounting for 26,410 deaths.
Dr Michael Gregory, Medical Director of the NHS in the North West said: “The rate of lung cancer in the North West is higher than anywhere else in England, and although we have seen record numbers of people coming forward for tests and checks, thanks to our campaigns and early diagnosis initiatives, the referrals for lung cancer haven’t returned to the levels we would like.
“Early diagnosis saves countless lives every year, so it is important that should you have any symptoms of lung cancer, including a continuous cough or breathlessness, to come forward as soon as possible and speak to the staff at your general practice.
“It’s probably nothing to worry about, but if it is cancer, diagnosing it early could save your life.”
The NHS ‘Help Us, Help You’ campaign will run across TV, video-on-demand services such as ITV Hub, radio, and social media over the next few months to spread awareness of lung cancer symptoms.
The new campaign is the latest drive by the NHS to deliver world-class cancer care and restore cancer services following the pandemic.