Irish Cancer Society Launches Lung Cancer Awareness Month

At the launch of its Lung Cancer Awareness Month , the Irish Cancer Society announced that 27% of Irish people were unable to name any symptoms of lung cancer, according to new research from the Global Lung Cancer Coalition (GLCC). This is a significant drop in awareness from 2013 when only 9% of Irish people were unable to name any symptoms of the disease.

This lack of awareness is seriously concerning. Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in Ireland with over 2,500 cases diagnosed annually[i], including 48 cases in Offaly in 2015[ii]. Lung cancer is also the leading cause of cancer deaths[iii] with, on average, 1,855 people in Ireland dying from lung cancer each year during 2012-2014iv.

The majority of lung cancer cases are diagnosed at a late stage which is why awareness of the symptoms and early detection is vital, the organisation said.

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
    • 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 Society encourages the public to access its simple online lung health checker which is available at www.cancer.ie/lung/checker. It allows them to answer questions about their lung health and bring a summary of their results to their doctor. This enables people to have a proper conversation about their lung health with their doctor. It’s a very simple but effective way of taking lung health seriously.

Speaking at the launch of Lung Cancer Awareness Month, Kevin O’Hagan, Cancer Prevention Manager with the Irish Cancer Society said, “The significant drop in awareness of the symptoms of lung cancer is worrying, given that the numbers are only set to increase, particularly amongst women. Alarmingly, female lung cancer cases are projected to increase by at least 77% between 2010 and 2040 and male cases by at least 52%[iv].

“1 in 4 lung cancer cases are being diagnosed in Emergency departments[v] and many of these are at an advanced stage. Irish people need to get checked if they experience any symptoms and not wait to present as an emergency. Late diagnosis limits your treatment options and reduces your chances of survival.”

Mr O’Hagan concluded: “There are a number of targets in the National Cancer Strategy 2017-2026 aimed at increasing the number of lung cancers diagnosed early. We want the Government, the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP), and organisations like the Irish Cancer Society, to come together to take urgent action and implement measures that will improve the earlier diagnosis of lung, and other cancers in Ireland.”

To speak to a cancer nurse on any aspect of lung cancer contact our Cancer Nurseline on Freephone 1800 200 700, email cancernurseline@irishcancer.ie or drop into one of our 13 Daffodil Centres in hospitals nationwide. For information on Daffodil Centre locations and opening times email daffodilcentreinfo@irishcancer.ie.

For further information on lung cancer and support available and to take the Online Lung Health Checker visit www.cancer.ie/lung 

 

[i] Estimated annual average incidence, 2015-2017 – National Cancer Registry (2017). ‘Cancer in Ireland 1994-2015 with estimates for 2015-2017: Annual Report of the National Cancer Registry’. www.ncri.ie

 

[ii]NCRI, Incidence Statistics, 2015

 

[iii]Average 1,855 lung cancer deaths per year 2012-2014 – National Cancer Registry (2017). Cancer in Ireland 1994-2015 with estimates for 2015-2017: Annual Report of the National Cancer Registry’.www.ncri.ie

 

[iv]‘Cancer Projections for Ireland 2015-2040’ NCRI

 

vThe preliminary research findings are contained in Chapter 7 of the ‘National Cancer Registry (2017). Cancer in Ireland 1994-2015 with estimates for 2015-2017: Annual Report of the National Cancer Registry’www.ncri.ie

 

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