People should take unexplained coughs and chest infections seriously, says an expert concerned about delays in the diagnosis of lung cancer.
The signs to watch out for are a new cough that persists for three weeks or more, a changed cough, coughing up blood or a chest infection that won’t go away.
Anyone who is concerned should see a doctor, says Cancer Australia CEO Professor Helen Zorbas, whose organisation is distributing information brochures through GPs and pharmacies to mark lung cancer awareness month.
‘The symptoms of lung cancer can often be vague and common to other conditions.
‘People should see a doctor if they have symptoms.’
Lung cancer is most common among people aged 60 or older but can affect any adult regardless of their smoking history.
It is the fifth most common cancer in Australia but the most common cause of cancer death, says Prof Zorbas.
‘It is important to recognise and act on the symptoms of lung cancer.
‘Diagnosis at an earlier stage can have significant benefits for patients.’
‘We are hopeful more people will pay attention to what their cough is telling them and will seek early medical assessment.’