Be clear on lung cancer in Southwark
NHS Southwark Clinical Commissioning Group is encouraging local people to think about lung cancer as part of the national Be Clear on Cancer campaign running throughout July.
Lung cancer is England’s biggest cancer killer claiming around 28,100 lives every year, including 115 in Southwark alone. Outcomes in Britain are worse than those in some European countries and it is estimated 1,300 deaths could be avoided each year if five-year survival cancer rates matched the best in Europe.
Lung cancer is fully treatable and you can have a good quality of life afterwards. But going to your doctor’s as soon as you have any of the symptoms is absolutely critical; if you have a persistent cough or cough up blood then see your GP. Early diagnosis means you have a better chance of survival and often means the cancer won’t have spread.
Dr Adam Bradford is a local GP and is also the NHS Southwark Clinical Commissioning Group Lead for Cancer and Screening. He has been a GP for over 20 years and has seen many patients with symptoms of lung cancer when it’s just too late. But it doesn’t have to be like this. By knowing what the symptoms are and visiting the GP immediately the chances are the cancer will be easier to treat. He said:
“There tend to be two types of people that visit with lung cancer symptoms; those that suspect their symptoms may be something serious but don’t want to acknowledge it and those that don’t think the symptoms are anything to worry about.
“But if you have a persistent cough that has lasted for three weeks or more or at any point cough up blood you need to visit the GP.”
It’s very straightforward for your GP to examine you and determine whether to send you for a chest X-ray. The process is simple and if your GP suspects it might be cancer you will see a specialist within two weeks and they would then arrange for further tests and, if necessary, treatment. You will either get reassurance that it isn’t lung cancer or you will find out it is and have a better chance of survival.
Go with your instincts, if you are worried then see your GP.