Persistent cough message

Mr Nidal Bittar, Cardio Thoracic surgeon
Mr Nidal Bittar, Cardio Thoracic surgeon
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Fylde coast residents are being urged not to ignore a persistent cough – as it could be a sign of lung cancer.

The NHS Be Clear on Cancer Campaign is aiming to make more people aware of the signs and symptoms of the illness, which can be successfully treated if caught early enough.

National figures show nearly 24,000 people a year in England receive a lung cancer diagnosis when the disease is at a late stage.

Only 15 per cent of cases are diagnosed when treatment is most likely to be successful. And this appears to be the case on the Fylde coast too.

Nidal Bittar, consultant cardio-thoracic surgeon from the Lancashire Cardiac Centre, at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, said it was vital patients sought help if they noticed symptoms.

He said: “At the Lancashire Cardiac Centre, we perform around 500 lung cancer operations a year.

“Unfortunately we are only able to operate on 15 per cent of the lung cancer patients referred to Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

“The majority of lung cancer patients present at late stage where surgery is not an option. Surgery is the treatment of choice for lung cancer in the early stages (stages one and two), stage one cancer patients can achieve up to 70 per cent five year survival. Once the lymph nodes are involved as the disease progresses, then the chance of curing the cancer is reduced considerably. It is crucial patients seek medical attention at an early stage.”

Figures show those diagnosed at the earliest stage are five times more likely to survive lung cancer for at least five years than those diagnosed at a late stage.

Main symptoms to look out for:

• A persistent cough for three weeks or more

• Repeated chest infections

• Coughing up blood

• Breathlessness

• Feeling more tired than usual