Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland campaign to combat lung cancer

Chest X-ray Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Early detection can improve outcomes for people with lung cancer

Northern Ireland's public health agency (PHA) has launched a campaign to combat lung cancer.

It is one of the most common cancers in Northern Ireland.

However, early detection can improve the outcome.

"If lung cancer is diagnosed early, two in five patients will survive five years or more," said public health consultant Dr Miriam McCarthy.

"When the diagnosis is made later on, only one in 50 will live this long.

"That is why it is vital to seek medical advice if you experience any symptoms which could indicate that you may have the condition."

The number of people developing lung cancer is increasing.

This is the next phase of the PHA's Be Cancer Aware campaign that will focus specifically on this type of cancer.

The illness is more common in people over 50 and in smokers, but around one in eight people with lung cancer has never smoked.

Some of the common signs and symptoms of lung cancer include:

  • persistent cough (more than three weeks);
  • coughing up blood or blood-stained phlegm (sputum);
  • chest and/or shoulder pains;
  • tiredness and loss of energy;
  • weight loss (for no obvious reason);
  • shortness of breath or wheezing;
  • hoarse voice;
  • a change in shape at the end of your fingers (clubbing).

The message from the PHA is to seek advice from your GP as early as possible.

Cancer can strike at any age, but almost nine out of 10 cancers are diagnosed in people over 50 years old.

That group in particular has been urged to be aware of changes and to consult their doctors.

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