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November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month

View profile for Clare Gammond
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November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month

    The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation’s nationwide event ‘Lung Cancer Awareness Month’ takes place this month and staff at Stephensons are doing their bit to raise funds for the charity. We will be taking part in bake sales, prize raffles, sweepstakes and can even win the chance to go home early in our ‘half day giveaway’ competition!

    RCLCF is the only charity in the UK solely dedicated to beating lung cancer. It was established in 1991 by Professor Ray Donnelly, who was concerned about the number of cases in the North West and the apparent lack of research programmes. In 1993, more than £1m was raised in just three days after the famous entertainer Roy Castle took part in the ‘Tour of Hope’ rail tour. These funds helped to set up a new research facility in Liverpool. The charity highlighted the dangers of passive smoking but sadly, Roy Castle did not live to see the day legislation was introduced banning smoking in public places.

    Fast forward to the present day and RCLCF has over 50 patient support groups across the UK, including one in Wigan where our industrial disease team is based. Amazingly, 1 in 3 of the RCLFC’s research programmes is funded by gifts left in wills. If you have lost a loved one to this disease, perhaps you would also like to offer your support in this way? Stephensons has a dedicated Wills & probate team who can advise you on the various types of gift possible and prepare your Will accordingly.

    Many other cancer charities are also participating in November’s event. Macmillan information buses will be touring town centres giving free lung cancer advice. They encourage members of the public to stop by for a chat, whether they are living with cancer or are caring for someone else who is.

    Some facts about lung cancer:

    • If your lungs were opened fully and spread out, they would cover an area the size of a tennis court
    • Lung cancer is the most common cancer in the UK and it is sadly the biggest cause of cancer deaths in women
    • Around 35,000 people die from the disease each year – more than prostate, bowel cancer and breast cancer combined
    • One person every 15 minutes is diagnosed with lung cancer in the UK
    • 38% of diagnoses take place in busy A&E departments
    • Cycling to work can reduce your risk of lung cancer when compared to non-active commuters
    • The five year post-diagnosis survival rate in the UK is almost double what it was a decade ago
    • Almost 90% of all cases are preventable, with smoking being the major cause of the disease
    • Female smokers are twice as likely to develop lung cancer as male smokers
    • 1 in 8 people who suffer from lung cancer have never smoked
    • For patients newly diagnosed, there are rules on the maximum length of time they have to wait for treatment

    Campaigning on the quality of care

    The UK Lung Cancer Coalition (UKLCC) is a group of leading lung cancer experts, senior NHS professionals, charities and healthcare companies. It wants an increase in the number of specialist nurses and to ensure that the latest diagnostic tests are available to all. The UKLCC points out that the number of patients diagnosed in each region with early stage lung cancer can vary from 63% down to just 33% and whilst survival rates have improved, our performance is lagging behind many other European countries. There are various contributing factors to this overall picture, but for around 40% of sufferers it still takes an emergency admission to Hospital to access specialist care for the first time. You can see how patient care in your local area compares with the rest of the country by using the interactive lung cancer map on the RCLCF’s website.

    Be clear on cancer

    Public Health England's ‘Be Clear on Cancer’ campaign is greatly increasing awareness of common signs and symptoms of lung cancer. If a person is experiencing any of the following for more than three weeks, they are strongly advised to go to their GP:

    • A cough that doesn’t go away
    • A worsening of a long standing cough
    • Unexplained breathlessness
    • Chest infections
    • Coughing up blood
    • Unexplained weight loss
    • Chest and/or shoulder pains
    • Unexplained tiredness or lack of energy
    • Hoarse voice

    Whilst much rarer than smoking-related lung disease, mesothelioma is a lung cancer type linked to exposure to asbestos dust and fibres. Often due to a previous occupation, it can take decades to present itself and suffers may be entitled to seek compensation. We always recommend that specialist legal advice is obtained as soon as possible following a diagnosis. Our industrial disease team acts for several lung cancer sufferers and would be happy to arrange a no obligation chat - or a home visit - to discuss the options. They can be contacted directly on 0175 321 6399

    Work Related Respiratory Disease

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