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Doctors in Preston and Lancashire warn of missed diagnosis for lung cancer due to Covid cough assumption

Posted on - 18th February, 2021 - 8:28am | Author - | Posted in - Health, Preston News
An ambulance leaving a depot Pic: Raymondo166
An ambulance leaving a depot Pic: Raymondo166

Doctors in Lancashire are urging residents not to ignore a persistent cough, as not every cough is coronavirus.

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A persistent cough could also be a sign of lung cancer.

Lung cancer is one of the most common and serious types of cancer, and around 47,000 people are diagnosed with the condition every year in the UK.

Read more: UCLan students lead UK fundraiser to help families of healthcare workers who have died from Covid-19

The number of people contacting their GP with suspected lung cancer in Lancashire and South Cumbria remains low; and in 2020, there were 29 per cent fewer referrals to hospital for lung cancer compared to the previous year.

If this continues, more people will be diagnosed later, resulting in a lower chance of survival. Finding and treating lung cancer at an early stage saves lives.

Dr Neil Smith, local GP lead and Primary Care Director for Lancashire and South Cumbria Cancer Alliance said: “It’s vital that everyone is aware of lung cancer signs and symptoms because anyone can develop lung cancer; men and women, young and old, smokers and non-smokers. If you have lungs, you can get the disease.

“At the moment if you have a cough you automatically think, Covid. But a persistent cough that lasts for three weeks or more, or that changes or gets worse, is also one of the most common symptoms of lung cancer and must not be ignored.

“GPs like me are here to help you. Contact your GP if you have a new persistent cough, are coughing up blood, have new breathlessness, unexplained tiredness, or weight loss.

“These could all be symptoms of lung cancer. It’s probably nothing serious, but it’s important to get checked out. Early diagnosis could save your life.”

Read more: 300 student nurses from UCLan sent to the Covid frontline at hospitals across the North West

If you need medical help from your GP practice, contact them online, by an app, or by phone to be assessed.

If you need urgent medical help, use the NHS 111 online service. If you cannot get help online, call 111.

If it is a serious or life-threatening emergency, call 999. If you are told to go to the hospital, it is important that you go. You should continue to attend your appointments unless you have symptoms of Covid-19 or are self-isolating.

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