Lung cancer warning for Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley patients

PUBLISHED: 15:46 11 July 2013 | UPDATED: 15:46 11 July 2013

Patients with a cough lasting more than three weeks should see their GP, warn local health chiefs.

Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley Clinical Commissioning Group, in charge of health services in the area, issued the advice as part of a new lung cancer awareness campaign.

GP Dr Bhaskar Bora said: “More people die from lung cancer than any other cancer in England. Fewer than one in seven of the 38,000 new cases every year are diagnosed early enough for effective surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy.

“One of the key reasons is that patients are often unaware of the symptoms.”

Symptoms include a persistent cough, chest pain, breathlessness and weight loss.

Dr Bora, who is based at Elmdene Surgery, Greenhithe added: “The message is clear – if you have a persistent cough, go and see your GP. The earlier lung cancer is diagnosed, the more likely that treatment will be successful.”

The advice is part of Public Health England’s Be Clear on Cancer campaign which is running until mid-August with adverts in newspapers and magazines and on TV and radio.

Dr Su Xavier, the clinical commissioning group’s public health advisor, said: “If your doctor suspects it might be cancer you will be referred to see a specialist within two weeks.

“Doctors will not think you are wasting their time. See your GP if you have been coughing for three weeks or more, you are coughing up blood, feeling tired and lack energy or have an unexplained weight loss. You may also have chest or shoulder pain, be short of breath and have a chest infection or a hoarse voice which has not gone away with treatment.

“Anyone can be at risk but it is more common in smokers and those over 50.”

Dartford had 102 new cases of lung cancer in 2010 compared with 110 in 2009 and 122 in 2008. Gravesham had 106 cases in 2010 compared with 134 in 2009 and 136 in 2008. Sevenoaks had 116 cases in 2010 compared with 104 in 2009 and 144 in 2008.

Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley Clinical Commissioning Group took over planning and paying for the majority of the area’s health services in April.

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