Lung Cancer Awareness Month 2023

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Lung Cancer Awareness Month 2023
LLB (Hons) & LPC Stacy Pimlott
Legally reviewed by: LLB (Hons) & LPC Stacy Pimlott In: Industrial Disease

Lung Cancer Awareness Month takes place over November each year in the UK. The campaign aims to raise awareness of the symptoms of lung cancer and campaign for increased national lung cancer screenings. It hopes that by raising awareness, more people will visit their GP if they are displaying any of the common signs.

Lung cancer is the most common cancer worldwide, affecting over 46,000 people in the UK every year. Of this 46,000 around 35,000 of these people die. Therefore, if you or a someone you know is showing symptoms of lung cancer, it’s important to go to your GP as early as possible as getting an early diagnosis has a significant impact on treatment and recovery.

National Screening Committee

Recently the National Screening Committee has recommended that people with a higher risk of lung cancer should be screened. Therefore, it is recommended that anyone between the ages of 55 and 74 who smokes or has smoked in the past should be invited to an assessment. If it is found that they are at higher risk of developing lung cancer, they should be offered a low-dose CT scan. Evidence so far has shown that this screening process can help save lives.

NHS Chief Executive, Amanda Pritchard, states:

“Identifying lung cancer early saves lives, and the expansion of the NHS’s targeted lung health check programme is another landmark step forward in our drive to find and treat more people living with this devastating disease at the earliest stage.”

Read more about the latest roll out to detect lung cancer.

What is Lung Cancer?

Lung cancer is where abnormal cells keep dividing, creating more and more abnormal cells. As a result, the cells create a lump in the lungs called a tumour.

There are two main types of primary lung cancer (cancer that starts within the lung).  These are:

  • Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the most common type accounting for almost 90% of cases.
  • Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is less common accounting for about 15% of all cases.

In some cases, cancer spreads from elsewhere in the body to the lungs. This is called lung metastases or secondary lung cancer.

Additionally, the cancer can affect the lining that covers the lungs (the pleura). This is called pleural mesothelioma.

Macmillan has further information about what lung cancer is.

Signs and Symptoms of Lung Cancer

The following are symptoms of lung cancer:

  • A cough for 3 weeks or longer
  • A change in a cough you have had for a long time
  • A chest infection that does not get better
  • Repeated chest infections
  • Feeling breathless and wheezy for no reason
  • Coughing up blood
  • Chest or shoulder pain that does not get better
  • A hoarse voice for 3 weeks or more
  • Losing your appetite
  • Losing weight
  • Feeling tired.

If you are showing any of these symptoms it’s vital to get checked by your GP, especially because lung cancer does not always have symptoms early on.

You can read more about the signs and symptoms of lung cancer here.

Risk Factors for Lung Cancer

Smoking tobacco is the cause of most lung cancers and the biggest risk factor, especially if the smoking has been ongoing since a young age. As many as 7 in 10 (72%) of lung cancers in the UK are caused by smoking. Those who do not smoke an also get lung cancer, however, the risk is much lower. Breathing in other people’s smoke can slightly increase the risk of getting cancer. This is sometimes referred to a second-hand smoke or passive smoking.

Furthermore, getting older or being exposed to hazardous materials such as asbestos can also increase the risk of getting lung cancer.

Treatment for Lung Cancer

Your doctor will be able to discuss the different treatments available to you and their side effects. This will often depend on what type of lung cancer you have. Treatments can be one or multiple of the following:

  • Surgery to remove part, or all of one lung
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiotherapy
  • Targeted therapies
  • Immunotherapy drugs
  • Tumour ablation

Support and Guidance

Being diagnosed with lung cancer can be overwhelming. It’s important to talk about the feelings and concerns that come with being diagnosed. Often speaking to family, friends, or specialists such as your cancer care nurse or GP can be helpful. Furthermore, you may benefit from a referral to a counsellor or psychologist. Some GP practices have a counselling service as part of their support team.

Below is the contact number to some organisations who can offer support, guidance, and assistance:

British Lung Foundation – helpline 03000 030 555

The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation – 0333 323 7200

Macmillan Cancer Support – 0808 808 00 00

Seeking Compensation

If you believe that yourself or a loved one has developed lung cancer due to exposure to asbestos or other occupational chemicals, our team of industrial disease solicitors can help. Our specialist industrial disease solicitors have experience in helping people claim compensation for illnesses caused by the neglect of others. This includes making claims on behalf of loved ones who have passed away due to asbestos related illness.

Find out more about how AWH Solicitors can help families who are affected by mesothelioma and other diseases here.

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