Health Column - Chris Jordan, Clinical Nurse Specialist
Our health column for this month's Worcester News, from Chris Jordan
November is lung cancer awareness month, and as a specialist nurse I always take the opportunity to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms.
This is the most common cancer in the world, and in the UK around 44,000 new cases are diagnosed each year.
I know from my experience with patients in Worcestershire that early diagnosis saves lives, but that far too many people are diagnosed too late.
Whenever I’ve got a spare minute this month you’ll find me in the hospital foyer, talking to patients, staff and visitors about the warning signs. The more people we can make aware, the more lives can be saved – because smaller tumours are so much easier to treat.
It’s really important to pay attention to your health day-to-day. If you have hoarseness in your voice, a cough that won’t go away, breathlessness or weight loss that you can’t understand, it’s worth looking into and visiting your doctor.
When I’m out in the hospital foyer, people come and ask about quitting smoking, and they often talk to me about concerns that they have about a friend or relative.
I always give advice about stopping smoking, and I’d recommend contacting our team at the hospital for some great support. But it’s also important that you know that lung cancer can happen to non-smokers too. In fact, one out of every seven people diagnosed each year has never smoked.
The risk of developing lung cancer may also be increased if you have had contact with chemicals like asbestos, radon and diesel exhaust fumes.
But no matter whether you are a smoker or not, if you’ve been coughing for three weeks or more, tell your GP. Because early diagnosis of lung cancer can save lives.