New lung cancer awareness campaign launched in Notts

A new lung cancer campaign is being piloted in Nottinghamshire, and across the Midlands, from today as the latest figures* reveal that over 700 people aged 50 or over in the county were diagnosed with the disease in 2009. The figures also show that in the same year lung cancer claimed the lives of over 620 people aged 50+ in the county – some of which may have been saved if diagnosed earlier.

Lung cancer is the biggest cancer killer in England. The Department of Health’s new Be Clear On Cancer campaign is aimed at helping people recognise the symptoms of lung cancer. TV, radio and press advertisements will feature real GPs encouraging patients to talk to them if they have had a cough for more than three weeks.

If England’s survival rates for lung cancer matched the best in Europe then an extra 1,300 lives could be saved each year. The latest figures** reveal that in Nottinghamshire only around 31 per cent of people aged 50+ survive lung cancer one year on from diagnosis.

Giles Cox, Lung Consultant at Kings Mill Hospital and Chair of the East Midlands Lung Cancer Group, is supporting the campaign, he said:

“We need to diagnose lung cancer as early as possible to increase the chances of survival. Unfortunately more than three quarters of patients do not come to our attention until the cancer has spread and curative treatment is not possible. Often symptoms may have been present for some time but are ignored or felt to be insignificant. A common symptom is a cough that lasts over three weeks.

“I would urge people from across Nottinghamshire to visit their GP if they recognise the symptoms.”

The Be Clear on Cancer campaign will pilot in the Midlands for five weeks from 10th October – 13th November, leading into National Lung Cancer Awareness month in

November. As well as regional TV, radio and press advertisements, activity will include branded pharmacy bags and information on GP TV screens. There will also be face-to-face community events run by the British Lung Foundation.

Jeremy Bacon, Support and Development Manager, British Lung Foundation Midlands, said:

“Lung cancer is the most common cancer in the world and claims over 28,000 lives*** in England each year. Many lives could be saved if people were aware of the signs and symptoms of lung cancer as finding it early improves the chances of successful treatment. 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.”

Dr Jesme Fox, Medical Director of the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, said:

“Early diagnosis of lung cancer saves lives, which is why this campaign is so vitally important. We hope it will encourage more people in the Midlands to go to their GP if they have a persistent cough which just won’t go away. In the majority of cases it will be nothing serious. However, if it is lung cancer then early diagnosis and treatment could save your life.”

The campaign builds upon the success of the recent Be Clear On Cancer – Bowel Cancer pilot campaign which helped achieve a 48 per cent increase in the number of people who visited their GP with the key symptoms and a 32 per cent increase in urgent referrals to hospital. Following these successes, the bowel cancer campaign will be rolled out across the country from the end of January 2012.

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