THINK lung cancer and chances are you will only think you’re at risk if you smoke. Well, think again.
Thousands of non-smokers are dying from the disease every year, experts today warned.
Getty – Contributor Lung cancer (file image) in those who have never-smoked is being under recognised, experts say
They say that better understanding could help lead to earlier diagnosis and reduce the blame culture around the condition.
Writing in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, public health experts have called for local authorities to do more to improve their air quality.
Major contributors to lung cancers in never-smokers include second-hand smoke, carcinogen exposure at work and outdoor pollution.
While smoking causes around 85 per cent of lung cancers, it is estimated that around 6,000 people in the UK who have never smoked die of the disease every year.
That’s more than the numbers of people who die of cervical cancer, lymphoma, leukaemia and ovarian cancer.
Lead author, Professor Paul Cosford, of Public Health England, said: “For too long having lung cancer has only been thought of as a smoking related disease.
“This remains an important association but, as this this work shows, the scale of the challenge means there is a need to raise awareness with clinicians and policy makers of the other risk factors including indoor and outdoor air pollution.
Most people who have never smoked do not believe they are at risk and often experience long delays in diagnosisProfessor Mick PeakeUniversity College London Hospitals Cancer Collaborative
“By delivering on the promise of a clean air generation we can reduce the number of lung cancers among those who have never smoked.”
Co-author Professor Mick Peake, of University College London Hospitals Cancer Collaborative, said: “Despite advances in our understanding, most people who have never smoked do not believe they are at risk and often experience long delays in diagnosis, reducing their chances of receiving curative treatment.”The 8 re-flag signs of lung cancer you need to know
But there are eight important signs to look out for, according to the NHS…
1. A cough that doesn’t go away after two or three weeks
2. A long standing cough that gets worse
3. Persistent chest infections
4. Coughing up blood
5. An ache or pain when breathing or coughing
6. Persistent breathlessness
7. Persistent tiredness or lack of energy
8. Loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss
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There are other less common symptoms to look out for such as changes in the appearance of your fingers, such as them becoming more curved or the ends becoming larger.
Also swelling of the face and neck, persistent chest or shoulder pain and a hoarse voice could all be a sign.
If you have any of these and are concerned it’s important to get them checked by a doctor.
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