GPs are urging people who have a persistent cough for three weeks or more to be aware of the symptoms of lung cancer and to contact them.

Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers among both men and women in Northern Ireland, with around 1300 cases diagnosed each year.

Some symptoms of lung cancer are similar to those of COVID-19, like a cough. 

Photo by B Boy from FreeImages

Dr Yvonne McGivern, GP lead for the Northern Ireland Cancer Network said “If you have a persistent new or different cough for three weeks or more, and tested negative for COVID-19, then contact your GP practice now. I know people may be worried about contacting their GP during the pandemic or they may think they don’t want to trouble their GP. However, it’s important that people see their GP if they have symptoms of lung cancer such as breathlessness or a persistent cough. Early diagnosis can make a big difference.”

Early diagnosis of lung cancer is important because early treatment can be more effective and survival can be improved.

Dr Louise Herron, Consultant in Service Development and Screening with the PHA said “Being aware of the signs and symptoms of lung cancer is important.  If you have any of the signs or symptoms, you should speak to your GP. It may not be anything serious but if it is lung cancer, finding it early can have a big impact on treatment and survival.

“I would urge anyone who has any signs or symptoms that could indicate lung cancer to contact to their GP without delay, as it could make all the difference.”

Symptoms of lung cancer may include:

  • a persistent cough;
  • a sudden change in a cough that you have had for a long time;
  • unexplained weight loss;
  • breathlessness;
  • chest pain – this is usually intermittent (stop-start) and is often made worse when breathing or coughing;
  • coughing up blood-stained phlegm.

For more information on the signs and symptoms of lung cancer see WWW.BECANCERAWARENI.INFO

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