NHS England has launched a new messaging campaign to mark the beginning of lung cancer awareness month.
Dubbed the Let’s Talk Lung Cancer roadshow, the new initiative aims to educate patients about some of the lesser-known symptoms of the disease and encourage them to get seen by a GP as soon as possible.
The programme is being run as a collaboration between the health service and the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation.
The roadshow kicked off in Hull last week and will make its way around the country throughout November.
The campaign forms part of the NHS’s drive to catch cancers earlier, as figures indicate that diagnosing lung cancer at stage one of two means people are 20x more likely to survive for five years or more than those with a late-stage diagnosis.
Misunderstood and underestimated, lung cancer is a disease that deserves our attention.— Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation (@Roy_Castle_Lung) November 1, 2023
During this lung cancer awareness month, we're challenging misconceptions and empowering those experiencing symptoms to BE UNFORGETTABLE. https://t.co/UD7cTGGO9Z #LungCancerAwareness pic.twitter.com/nc4hLFig3T
The scheme will look to tackle people’s reluctance to see their doctor despite the presence of symptoms. New survey data shows that only two in five (41%) people would visit their GP if they had a persistent cough for three weeks or more.
Just half (50%) of the respondents also believed lung cancer only affects a small number of people in England – it is in fact the UK’s leading cause of cancer death.
One in seven (14%) thought that lung cancer exclusively impacts smokers; more than one in four (28%) instances are not caused by smoking, according to the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation.
The chief executive of the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, Paula Chadwick, said: “It is staggering that half of those surveyed still do not know how prevalent lung cancer is. We believe this stems from a reluctance, even aversion, to talking about lung cancer, and that is largely because of its links to smoking and associated stigma.”
She continued: “That’s why these events are so important. They give us the opportunity to have one-on-one conversations with people who may not realise they are at risk, who may not recognise potential symptoms or could feel unable to act on them.”
Chadwick recently authored a piece in National Health Executive’s online magazine explaining how targeted lung health checks are saving lives.
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