World Cancer Day – 4 warning signs of lung cancer WA lung experts want you to know
In Australia lung cancer is one of the deadliest forms of cancer, killing more Australians than breast and bowel cancers combined.
Modelling shows up to 170,000 Australians will be diagnosed with lung cancer over the next decade and it will remain the leading cause of cancer death for the next two decades.
And you don’t need to be a smoker to get lung cancer, with one in five lung cancers diagnosed in those who have never smoked. Exposure to dusts and fumes through work is also an increasing concern.
This World Cancer Day, 4 February 2023, Professor Fraser Brims from the Institute for Respiratory Health and Curtin Medical School, wants Western Australians to be aware of the four warning signs of lung cancer.
“There are often no noticeable symptoms of lung cancer early on,” Professor Brims said.
“Warning signs tend to develop as the cancer progresses, spreading and reaching other parts of the body, which means survival rates are lower than for some other cancers. But there are symptoms you can look out for and there have been vital breakthroughs in treatment in the last 10 years.
“The main warning signs can include having a persistent cough for more than three weeks, or a long-standing cough which gets worse. Breathlessness is another common sign, you might notice you tend to get out of breath doing the things you used to do without a problem,” Professor Brims said.
“Having a chest infection that won’t go away or infections which keep coming back is another potential symptom. Coughing up blood (blood in phlegm) can also happen.
“All of these warning signs could be due to other health problems and it’s vital if you are experiencing any of these symptoms that you do contact your doctor – don’t put it off. It’s always best to check, it could be something else, but if it is lung cancer, catching It early can make all the difference.”
Professor Brims runs a successful lung cancer screening program here in Western Australia for people exposed to asbestos and says almost one-third of all deaths related to lung cancer could be prevented through routine lung cancer screening, early detection and treatment.
“More funding needs to be invested into lung cancer screening to save lives,” Professor Brims said.