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Spot The Difference For Lung Cancer Awareness Month

View profile for Nick O'Neill
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November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month and the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation is urging people to Spot The Difference – by taking note of certain changes in their body that can signal the disease.

Lung cancer is the most common cancer in the world with more than 46,000 people diagnosed with it in the UK every year. There are many different causes of lung cancer and anyone can develop it – although it has been linked to smoking and passive smoking, poor diet, exposure to asbestos, and to some occupational chemicals. Some of the signs of the disease are quite subtle, but they should never be ignored. They include:

  • Breathlessness
  • Chest pain
  • Unexplained back or shoulder pain
  • Persistent cough
  • Weight loss and fatigue
  • Clubbed fingers

Of course, these symptoms can signal other conditions as well – many of which are not as serious as lung cancer -  but it is always best to be cautious and to talk to your GP if you have concerns. Early diagnosis is crucial when it comes to lung disease. It doesn’t matter if you have one symptom or five, if you spot any potential symptoms of lung cancer, and if it is unusual for you, talk to a doctor.

If you need support or guidance the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation website is a mine of useful information about health checks, research and studies, as well as more details about possible symptoms.

An inquiry by the Senedd’s Cross Party Group on Cancer (CPGC) in September 2020 highlighted the effect which the COVID pandemic has had on lung cancer referrals. It found referrals from GPs for suspected lung cancer were down 72 percent during lockdown in April 2020 and 26 percent in August 2020. Undiagnosed lung cancer cases are building. 

Unfortunately, we deal with an increasing number of legal cases where a delay in diagnosis – or sometimes a misdiagnosis -  has resulted in more serious injury to a patient than otherwise would have been the case. Clearly the Covid situation has led to some routine or follow up appointments being cancelled or delayed, so this is a growing issue.

However, GPs are accustomed to operating within the parameters of the pandemic and they have sound safety protocols in place, so there is no need to put off talking to them. Some offer a phone or a video consultation, but they may want to see you in person while maintaining extra hygiene standards. Anyone who feels a delay or a misdiagnosis has caused them further injury should seek tailored legal advice. Our Medical Negligence Team is on hand if you have further questions. Get in touch by emailing or call 03333 209244.