Public Health England (PHE) has launched a ‘Be Clear on Cancer’ campaign in the West Midlands urging people to see a doctor if they are getting out of breath doing things they used to be able to do or if they’ve had a cough for three weeks or more. Either of these symptoms can be signs of lung disease or lung cancer, while breathlessness can also be an indication of heart disease. These diseases are some of the leading causes of death in England, causing more than 150,000 deaths each year combined
Early diagnosis can save lives and improve the quality of life of those living with conditions, such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), a common form of lung disease that includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. The most recent data shows that in the West Midlands region there are around 111,200 people diagnosed with COPD each year, and almost 200,000 people diagnosed with coronary heart disease (CHD) annually, the main type of heart disease. In 2015, 3,861 people were diagnosed with lung cancer in the region.
The campaign is aimed at men and women aged 50 and above as these people are most at risk of lung cancer, COPD and heart disease. As well as prompting anyone who experiences these symptoms to visit their GP, the campaign calls on people to look out for each other and encourage friends and family to visit the GP if they have either of these symptoms.
This call comes as a new survey found that adults over 50 in the West Midlands are more likely to encourage others to see the doctor than go themselves.