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Campaign launches to encourage those with a persistent cough or breathlessness to go to their doctor
06 July 2017

Be Clear on Cancer is back with a respiratory symptoms campaign which will run across England.

IW NHS Trust is supporting the campaign which highlights that a cough for three weeks or more could be a sign of lung disease, including cancer and that if you get out of breath doing everyday things that you used to be able to do, like mowing the lawn, it could be sign of lung or heart disease, or even cancer.

While it may well be nothing serious, the campaign makes it clear that if you have either of these symptoms you should go to your doctor. Finding these conditions early makes them more treatable.

Island resident Matthew, 53 has spoken about his experience of being diagnosed with cancer two years ago. Matthew’s experience is being shared as part of the national campaign to help raise awareness of the first signs of lung disease.

Matthew was diagnosed with lung cancer in March 2015, aged 51. He began coughing and became ill around the same time as other members of his family. While they got better within a few weeks, Matthew noticed he was still coughing five weeks later and so he went to see his GP.  The GP initially said that this type of infection normally takes around seven weeks to clear up. However, once she listened to his chest, which showed shallow breathing, and Matthew shared that he has a family history of lung cancer, he was referred for an x-ray. 

Matthew had a scan, which showed a shadow on the lung. Following a biopsy, which confirmed that he had lung cancer, he had the tumor removed surgically, as well as radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

Following his treatment in November 2015, Matthew was informed his cancer had gone.

Matthew said: “It was an unbelievable feeling of shock when I was diagnosed with cancer but I knew that I was going to fight it. I’d urge anyone who has had a cough for three weeks or more to visit their GP and to get it checked out.”

Anne Snow, Lead Cancer Nurse at St. Mary’s Hospital said: “Any cough which doesn’t clear up within a couple of weeks or if you start to feel breathlessness and it is not normal for you, it is important to get yourself checked by a GP. It’s probably nothing serious, but if it is a lung disease, such as lung cancer or COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), finding it early makes it much more treatable.

Anne Snow, continued: “We are so grateful to people who are willing to speak about their personal experience of cancer, as Matthew has, it will hopefully prompt anyone with symptoms which have lingered to go and get themselves checked, for peace of mind.”

For further information search ‘Be Clear on Cancer’. The campaign will run for 15 weeks with advertising running on TV, radio, posters, newspapers/magazines and online.

The majority of services provided by Isle of Wight NHS Trust are commissioned and funded by Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), NHS England and Isle of Wight Council.

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