Women ‘unaware of threat from lung cancer’

MOST women in the UK significantly underestimate the risks of lung cancer, a survey suggests today.

The poll for the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation found that four in five women did not know the disease was the UK’s biggest cancer killer in women.

Most believed that breast and cervical cancer caused more deaths, even though lung cancer causes more fatalities than the other two combined, claiming 15,000 lives each year.

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The survey of more than 2,000 women also found they failed to recognise the poor recovery chances from lung cancer. Only one in 11 women survives more than five years.

Cancer specialist Marianne Nicolson, from Aberdeen, said: “The fact that the majority of women do not recognise the seriousness of a diagnosis of lung cancer is a real concern.

“Most women know about self examination for signs of breast cancer, such as a lump, and to seek immediate medical advice if they have concerns.

“The results of this survey show that women are less likely to see their doctor urgently if they display symptoms of lung cancer, such as a constant cough.

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“Early diagnosis saves lives and the earlier lung cancer is diagnosed, the better the chance of cure.”

The charity has launched the Women Against Lung Cancer campaign to raise awareness about the signs and symptoms of lung cancer. It also aims to step up efforts to deter women from smoking and encourage them to quit. Its patron is Dame Judi Dench whose husband Michael Williams died of the illness.

Dame Judi said: “As a woman who has lost her husband to lung cancer, this is a campaign close to my heart.

“I would urge women who smoke to consider giving up or to be vigilant to the symptoms and see their doctor as early as possible if they have any concerns.”