Bedfordians are being urged to learn the symptoms of potential lung cancer and to come forward for targeted screening if they are invited.
Bedfordshire has some of the highest rates of smoking and the poorest cancer outcomes, with a significant percentage of the local population known to be either current or former smokers.
The symptoms of Lung Cancer are highlighted in November which is Lung Cancer Awareness Month.
Locals are being invited to have a free lung health check with a lung specialist, as the earlier the detection the much higher the survival chances are.
More than four in 10 cases of cancer could be prevented, largely through lifestyle changes such as not smoking, keeping a healthy body weight, eating a healthy balanced diet and cutting down on alcohol.
“A cough is a common symptom for many things, but when you have a cough that doesn’t go away after three weeks or more, it could be a sign of cancer. Early detection is important even if you cough up blood just once,” said Dr James Ramsay, a respiratory physician at Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
“We aim to remind people with a long-standing cough and their loved ones not to be complacent and to encourage them to get checked out. It’s likely nothing to be too worried about, but if it does turn out to be cancer – the earlier it is diagnosed, the easier it is to treat.
“Whenever anyone notices anything unusual for their body that they are worried could be cancer, it’s vital that they act by contacting their GP practice,” he added.
In addition to the symptom of a cough for three weeks or more, other symptoms of lung cancer include:
- Chest infections that keep coming back
- Coughing up blood
- A long-standing cough that gets worse
- An ache or pain when breathing or coughing
- Persistent breathlessness
- Persistent tiredness or lack of energy
- Loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss
For more information on cancer signs and symptoms go to nhs.uk/cancersymptoms.