The Irish Thoracic Society warns against ignoring the signs of lung cancer.
“Symptoms such as persistent cough, unexplained weight loss and coughing blood should always be heeded, particularly in current or former smokers. The Irish Thoracic Society urges anyone with these symptoms to visit their GP straight away, as early detection of lung cancer leads to better outcomes,” said Dr Terry O’Connor, President of the Irish Thoracic Society
This comes in the wake of a report from the National Cancer Registry which shows that lung cancer is the third most common cancer and the most common cause of cancer death in men and women. Of particular concern are trends for lung cancer in women showing the disease has now bypassed breast cancer as the most common cause of cancer death. However the report also highlights trends towards improved survival and greater uptake of treatment options – both of which are underpinned by early detection.
“There has been significant investment in lung cancer services in recent years through the National Cancer Control Programme. Patients who present to their GP with symptoms of lung cancer will now be referred immediately to one of eight Rapid Access Clinics located in cancer centres throughout the country. Treatment for lung cancer has seen significant development and is carried out by multi-disciplinary teams comprising respiratory medicine, surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy”, said Prof JJ Gilmartin, Chair of the Irish Thoracic Society Lung Cancer Sub-committee.
The message to anyone with worrying symptoms, according to Dr O’Connor, is to take that vital first step in visiting your GP without delay. “Early detection combined with improved surgical and other treatments mean that the outlook for patients with lung cancer can be more promising than they might imagine. It’s also important to remember that with 9 out of 10 cases directly caused by smoking, lung cancer is in the main a preventable disease. Smokers who quit will greatly reduce their risk of developing lung cancer”.