Kirkby woman backs lung cancer campaign

A KIRKBY woman has given her backing to a new campaign to raise awareness about lung cancer after she survived the killer disease herself.

Judy Pitt (69) was diagnosed with lung cancer after visiting her GP with a persistent tickly cough just before going on holiday.

She had to have a major operation to remove her left lung and underwent chemotherapy treatment, but is now in remission.

And after her experience she is keen to support a new lung cancer awareness campaign that is being piloted in Nottinghamshire.

Judy, of Western Avenue, said: “It’s strange to think that I had no pain or other symptoms of my cancer - only that tickly cough.

“If I hadn’t been going on holiday I may not have gone to the doctors, so I dread to think what would have happened; I probably wouldn’t be here now.

“My advice to anyone who has had a cough for several weeks is to book an appointment and go to your doctor.

“I’m proof that lung cancer can be treated and you can have your life back.”

More than 700 people in Nottinghamshire aged 50 and over were diagnosed with lung cancer in 2009 - with 620 people of the same age dying from it that year.

The Department of Health’s new ‘Be Clear On Cancer’ campaign is aimed at helping people recognise the symptoms of lung cancer.

Giles Cox, lung consultant at King’s Mill Hospital, said that early diagnosis of the disease increases the chances of survival.

He said: “The best chance of curing patients is to operate to remove all the cancer but unfortunately more than three quarters of patients have cancer that has spread by the time they come to see us.

“If patients were able to recognise symptoms early and get a chest x-ray we may see more patients before the cancer has spread.”

One of the symptoms that Dr Cox urges people to look out for is a persistent cough that lasts for more than three weeks.

If people see their doctor at this point, any treatment they face may then be aimed at cure rather than controlling symptoms, he said.

Jeremy Bacon, support and development manager for the British Lung Foundation Midlands, added: “Lung cancer is the most common cancer in the world and claims over 28,000 lives in England each year.

“We believe that this campaign will play a key role in saving lives by encouraging people to see their GP if they experience any symptoms of lung cancer.”

l For further information on lung cancer visit nhs.uk/lungcancer.