Low awareness of lung cancer

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lung cancerSeventy per cent of patients with lung cancer had never regarded the disease as a threat prior to learning of their condition, according to the results from a major European public and patient survey.

The survey found that close to half of lung cancer patients admitted that their diagnosis was discovered by chance during a visit to the doctor for another reason.

It also revealed that of the lung cancer patients polled, 83% of those receiving chemotherapy endured difficult side effects and a compromised quality of life from their treatments.

According to consultant medical oncologist Prof Desmond Carney, Lung Cancer Awareness Month this month offers a great opportunity to improve the general public's knowledge of the signs and symptoms of lung cancer, particularly in at-risk groups.

"One life is claimed by this condition every 30 seconds worldwide, and improving early diagnosis rates is key to giving us the best opportunity to treat the disease and hopefully improve outcomes in the future."

The survey was carried out by the pharmaceutical firm Roche.

Norma Cronin of the Irish Cancer Society said those most at risk of lung cancer include those who start to smoke in adolescence and who continue to smoke as adults,

"A high risk individual is someone who is aged 50 years or over and who has a strong history of at least 10 'pack years' (smoked at least one pack of cigarettes per day for 10 years or at least two packs a day for five years)," she said.

The Cancer Society also points out that there is a 20% increase in the likelihood of developing lung cancer in spouses of smokers, and exposure to smoke at work also increases the risk of lung cancer.

The Irish Cancer Society is marking Lung Cancer Awareness month by embarking on a national and regional radio advertising campaign, inviting people who are concerned or have been affected by lung cancer to call the National Cancer Helpline at 1800 200 700 or visit http://www.cancer.ie/

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