Almost a third of smokers 'would avoid doctor' if faced with symptoms of lung cancer

Almost a third of smokers 'would avoid doctor' if faced with symptoms of lung cancer

Over a third of Irish adults who are currently experiencing three or more symptoms of lung cancer are unconcerned about getting diagnosed, according to new research by the Irish Cancer Society.

It also found that lung health is rarely spoken of, with 76% of adults reporting that they have never had a conversation with their doctor or pharmacist on the topic.

Further to this, 54% of adults felt there were obstacles to going to their doctor about lung health, including fear (22%), expense (17%) and because they don’t think it is serious enough (19%).

Over a fifth of adults (22%) and almost a third of smokers (32%) also said they would not go to their doctor as they would be afraid of what they would be told.

The signs and symptoms of lung cancer are:

* A cough that doesn’t go away or a change in a long-term cough

* Feeling short of breath or wheezing

* Repeated chest infections that won’t go away even after antibiotics

* Coughing up blood-stained phlegm (sputum)

* Pain in your chest, especially when you cough or breathe in

* Feeling more tired than usual and/or unexplained weight loss

* Hoarse voice, problems swallowing or swelling in the face or neck

The prevalence of lung cancer continues to increase with 2,312 people diagnosed in Ireland in 2012.

While the incidence in men is decreasing every year by around 1%, lung cancer in women continues to increase at a rate of 2% each year.

Kevin O’Hagan, Cancer Prevention Manager at the Irish Cancer Society said: “Lung health needs to be taken seriously – we need Irish people to start talking about it and to consider it important enough to take action.

“Lung cancer can be treated once it is diagnosed at an early stage but unfortunately too many people don’t go to their doctor at a time when it would be most beneficial for them.

“We need doctors and pharmacists to keep lung cancer front of mind and to encourage their patients to maintain good lung health.

“When it comes to lung cancer, awareness and early detection are the key to survival.”

“We are inviting members of the public to take our Online Lung Health Checker which is available on our website and to encourage friends and family to do the same.

“This will help you consider your lung health and to examine symptoms you may be experiencing. We want Irish people to take action and this is a simple way to do so.”

The report, commissioned by the Irish Cancer Society and carried out by Coyne Research, surveyed over 1,000 adults.

It was launched to coincide with the start of the Society’s Lung Cancer Awareness Campaign which is supported by Medtronic and Eli Lilly.

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