Don’t put off seeing a GP

Councillor Joyce Bosnjak, Chairman of the Public Health Committeeat Nottinghamshire County Council

Councillor Joyce Bosnjak, Chairman of the Public Health Committeeat Nottinghamshire County Council

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Health chiefs are warning people not to put off seeking medical advice if they are showing symptoms of serious illness.

The new Be Clear on Cancer campaign raises awareness of the symptoms of lung cancer, lung disease and heart disease and encourages people with a persistent cough or breathlessness after everyday tasks to visit their GP as it could be a sign of one of these conditions.

In 2014, 505 people from Nottinghamshire died from lung cancer - a decrease of 15 per cent from the previous year.

Latest figures also show that 3,270 people were diagnosed with lung cancer in the East Midlands in 2014 and that more than 91,000 people are living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – a common form of lung disease that includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

Jonathan Gribbin, consultant in public health at Nottinghamshire County Council said: “Experiencing breathlessness doing everyday tasks like mowing the lawn or vacuuming is not something to put down to ‘just getting on a bit’ but a symptom to discuss with your GP, as is a persistent cough.

“We are supporting this Be Clear on Cancer message by widely distributing leaflets to GPs and libraries across the county.

“Being aware of the breathlessness and persistent cough symptoms are important in providing a prompt to go and see the doctor.

“These symptoms may well be nothing critical but discussing them with a GP is important and is not a waste of a doctor’s time.”

Across England, lung cancer is the biggest cancer killer, accounting for 28,400 deaths each year, while COPD is the cause of a further 24,000 deaths annually. Coronary heart disease is the biggest single cause of death, accounting for more than 56,000 deaths in England each year.

Councillor Joyce Bosnjak, chairman of the public health committee at the council, said: “The campaign is aimed at people, especially those over 50, who put off visiting their GP. The message is loud and clear – don’t worry about wasting a GP’s time, they want to see you and have a chat if you’ve got any worrying symptoms.”

Be Clear on Cancer runs until October 16.