Lung Cancer: Covid’s hidden victim
Wessex Cancer Alliance is urging people to go to their GP if they have any concerns about their health which may be signs of cancer.
We all know that the current coronavirus pandemic has been destructive beyond measure, to human lives and the health of our population. But – the NHS is not closed. Your GP is still here to help you and it is vitally important that the pandemic does not prevent people seeking medical advice when they need it.
Dorset respiratory consultant Jenny Graves says “One of the harder cancers to differentiate from the symptoms of Covid-19, is Lung Cancer. For many patients, the sign to look out for is a persistent cough – that is, one that lasts for three weeks or more. It is challenging because some patients with Covid-19 will be left with a persistent cough. We would advise that, if you have had a persistent cough for three weeks or more and are worried it might be Covid-19, book a test via the NHS Test and Trace website or call 119. If that test is negative, but your cough persists – then please speak to your GP as it may well be the sign of something else.”
Lung cancer is not just something you get if you are a smoker, although that will increase your risk; there are other factors that can mean you are more at risk from this disease, such as family history, growing up around smokers and/or working in certain environments where asbestos may have been present for example. As well as a persistent cough, other symptoms can also be,
- coughing up blood
- sudden weight loss that you cannot explain
- fatigue (extreme tiredness)
- a loss of appetite.
Jenny Graves had this final message; “Lung cancer feels like the hidden victim of Covid-19 and patients should not feel like they cannot seek the support they need. It is our wish that people come to see their GP as soon as possible, not waiting to be in severe pain or discomfort before they seek help. We have measures in place to protect patients against being exposed to Covid-19 when they are in health care environments. To make a diagnosis and start early treatment, we need to establish an early diagnosis and we can’t do that if you stay away”.