Press Article: “Don’t leave it until it’s too late.” Lung Cancer Awareness Month - 1 Nov 2010
“Don’t leave it until it’s too late.” Lung Cancer Awareness Month - 1 Nov 2010
Smokers are being urged to think about quitting for good during Lung Cancer Awareness Month in November.
A survey by Fresh shows the average age for North East smokers starting is just 15 – putting the region’s smokers at more risk of developing the deadly disease than those who start in their 20s.
Lung Cancer Awareness Month was launched by the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation working in partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support, backed by celebrities Ricky Gervais and Sir Alex Ferguson.
In the North East around 7,500 people are admitted to hospital with lung cancer each year, and around 2160 people die from the disease. It aims to raise awareness of the warning signs and importance of early detection among people at greatest risk, as well as GPs and pharmacists when considering symptoms.
Ailsa Rutter, director of Fresh, said: “Too many families in the North East have been robbed of loved ones as a result of this disease. Quitting might not always be easy, but it’s better than leaving it until it is too late.
“Smoking directly causes almost 90 per cent of all male lung cancers and 83 per cent of all female lung cancers. And it is shocking to consider that for many the seeds of lung cancer are sown in childhood.
“The good news is that more people are quitting smoking than ever before and hopefully in the future, we can drastically reduce the burden of lung cancer for our children’s generation.”
The earlier children become regular smokers and persist in the habit as adults, the greater the risk of developing lung cancer or heart disease. Results of a study of ex-smokers with lung cancer found that those who started smoking before age 15 had twice as many cell mutations as those who started after age 20.
Research has shown that current smokers are 15 times more likely to die from lung cancer than life-long non-smokers, while the risk of developing lung cancer is affected by level of consumption and duration of smoking.
The good news is that lung cancer incidence rates have decreased in the UK in line with the decline in smoking since World War II. The North East also saw the biggest regional drop in people smoking between 2005-2008.
Carole Dudley, manager of NHS County Durham and Darlington Stop Smoking Service, said: “Quitting smoking isn’t always easy but it’s something most smokers really want to do. Nine out of ten people who use NHS help to quit say they would recommend it.
“We offer friendly and non-judgemental help to smokers and tailor support to every person to give them the best possible chance of quitting.
“One of the main causes of people lapsing when they quit is not having the right support in the first place. Their best possible chance of success is through using an NHS Stop Smoking Service.”
People can access help by phoning the County Durham and Darlington NHS Stop Smoking Service on freephone 0800 0113405, by phoning the NHS Helpline on 0800 022 4 332 or click on http://smokefree.nhs.uk/
LUNG CANCER – FAST FACTS FROM THE ROY CASTLE LUNG FOUNDATION
• Lung Cancer is the most common cause of cancer death in the UK
• Each year, 34,600 people die from lung cancer – that’s 95 people every day
• Only around 10 in every 100 lung cancer patients are alive five years after diagnosis
• Smoking causes almost 90% of lung cancer deaths
• Rates of lung cancer in Scotland are among the highest in the world, reflecting its history of high smoking prevalence
• The chances of surviving lung cancer remained relatively unchanged in the past 30 years, from 3.2% in the early 1970s to 5.3% in 2007
• Only 5% of all cancer research goes on lung cancer
• 25% of Brits say they have less sympathy for lung cancer patients due to its link to smoking
LUNG CANCER – SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
• A cough that doesn’t go away after two to three weeks
• Worsening or change of a long-standing cough
• Persistent chest infections
• Coughing blood
• Unexplained persistent breathlessness
• Unexplained persistent tiredness or lack of energy
• Unexplained persistent weight loss
• Persistent chest and / or shoulder pain