07/11/2008

UCF Targets Cancer Awareness

The signs and symptoms of Northern Ireland's biggest cancer killer are being highlighted by a local charity this week with the Ulster Cancer Foundation (UCF) using national 'Lung Cancer Awareness Month' as a springboard to target local people. Gerry McElwee, Head of Cancer Prevention, UCF said: "Many people believe that only smokers get lung cancer.

"Although smoking is the major cause of lung cancer, one in six people diagnosed with the disease have never smoked," he revealed, noting that, in Northern Ireland more than 870 people are diagnosed with lung cancer every year and alarmingly nearly 820 people will die annually as a result of this illness.

"We want to make people aware of the symptoms of lung cancer as early detection can be the difference between life and death.

"So be aware of recurrent chest infections that fail to clear up with antibiotics; a cough that lasts for more than three weeks; coughing up blood; feeling persistently out of breath; losing your voice but with no sore throat; a dull ache or sharp pain when you cough or take a deep breath; persistent chest or shoulder pain or loss of appetite or weight," he said, noting that although these symptoms might be due to other causes, "getting them checked by your GP as early as possible could save your life".

He concluded by saying: "The Ulster Cancer Foundation has produced a fact sheet about lung cancer which is available on the publications/resources section of UCF's website www.ulstercancer.org or by calling UCF's free information and support.

(BMcC)

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