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Health campaign: Check out that cough

New figures released this week show that across the Yorkshire and the Humber area around 4,500 people are diagnosed with lung cancer each year. Around 123,000 people have been diagnosed with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease – a common form of lung disease that includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis) and over 212,500 with coronary heart disease.

And now, a senior health official at East Riding of Yorkshire Council has spoken out in support of a campaign  to raise awareness of the symptoms of lung cancer, lung disease and heart disease – all leading causes of death.

Andy Kingdom, Associate Director of Public Health, welcomed the launch of the “Be Clear on Cancer” campaign, which encourages anyone with a persistent cough, or who gets out of breath doing things they used to be able to do, to visit their GP.

He told Beverley FM: “It is important for local people who have a persistent cough or breathlessness to seek advice from their general practice since early treatment for conditions can really improve health. I certainly welcome this campaign.”

The campaign also aims to make people aware that early diagnosis is crucial and finding diseases early makes them more treatable.

The latest findings certainly show that earlier diagnosis can save lives and improve the quality of life for people living with these diseases. Over 80% of people diagnosed with lung cancer at the earliest stage (stage 1) were alive one year after diagnosis. At the later stage (stage 4), this drops to 17 per cent.  Around 3,400 die from the disease in the Yorkshire and Humber area each year.

A persistent cough or getting out of breath doing everyday tasks that you used to be able to do, such as mowing the lawn or vacuuming, could be a sign of lung cancer or other lung disease. Breathlessness could be a sign of heart disease as well. The campaign encourages anyone experiencing these symptoms to see their GP as finding these conditions early makes them more treatable.

The campaign is aimed at men and women aged 50 and over, as older people are most at risk of lung cancer, COPD and heart disease.