National lung cancer campaign urges GP visits

A lung cancer campaign has launched in England urging patients with persistent cough to visit their GP, after regional pilots saw a significant jump in diagnosis rates.

The campaign will target patients with persistent cough
The campaign will target patients with persistent cough

The latest Be Clear On Cancer campaign, which encourages patients with persistent cough for three weeks or more to visit their GP, aims to improve the early detection of lung cancer.

Diagnosis rates in pilot regions rose 14% compared with the previous year, against a background increase of 4.7% across the rest of the country.

TV, print and radio adverts will run until mid-August, as the NHS bids to improve early diagnosis of lung cancer, which causes around 28,000 deaths a year in England.

Nearly 24,000 people a year are diagnosed in the late stages of the disease, and only 15% of cases are caught early.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said: 'More people die from lung cancer than any other cancer in England, but many people don’t know the signs and symptoms that could save their lives.

'The message from this campaign is clear - if you have a persistent cough, go and see your doctor. The earlier lung cancer is diagnosed, the more likely that treatment will be successful.'

Sean Duffy, national clinical director for cancer at NHS England, said: 'Awareness campaigns like this are especially important in getting people with potential symptoms into doctors’ surgeries.'

He said more must be done to match the best survival rates in Europe, which would save an extra 1,300 lives a year.

Be clear on cancer video: lung cancer

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