Never too late to quit smoking says St Albans hospice

PUBLISHED: 15:02 15 November 2010

Julie Hill at Grove House promoting Lung Cancer Awareness Month

Julie Hill at Grove House promoting Lung Cancer Awareness Month

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NOVEMBER is Lung Cancer Awareness Month and Grove House is helping to spread the word and support patients and their families who have been recently diagnosed with the disease and throughout illness.

Lung cancer is the UK’s biggest cancer killer, claiming the lives of more than 33,500 people in the UK every year – more than leukaemia, breast and prostate cancer combined – yet it receives a mere three per cent of all money spent on cancer research in this country.

In the UK, someone dies from lung cancer every 15 minutes. Despite some recent improvements in service provision, there are still wide variations in standards across the country, including diagnosis, treatment and care for lung cancer patients.

In this area of West Hertfordshire, Grove House can offer practical and emotional support to patients and their families where there is a diagnosis of lung cancer.

Often known as the “invisible” or “forgotten” disease, lung cancer symptoms can include a continuous cough, breathlessness or wheezing, and of course these symptoms can be associated illnesses other than cancer. But other signs can include coughing up blood, loss of appetite or weight, difficulty in swallowing and excessive tiredness. If you notice any of these symptoms you should contact your doctor.

Anyone can develop lung cancer, but as most people know smoking does increase the risk. While giving up smoking reduces the risk over time it is now known that breathing other people’s smoke can also increase the possibility of contracting lung cancer, although the risk is significantly lower.

The good news is if you are a smoker it is never too late to give up and the sooner you stop the better. Even if you have been smoking for most of your life, your chances of developing lung cancer will significantly decrease if you give up now, whatever your age.

Treatments for lung cancer can include surgery, depending on the progression of the cancer, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. And at Grove House there are specially trained staff to help cope with some of the feelings of shock and anxiety that can come with a cancer diagnosis.

To find out how Grove House can help you, in the first instance phone the information office 01727 843401 Monday to Friday or visit www.grove-house.org.uk

For advice and help on giving up smoking call the NHS helpline on 0800 022 4332 or look at the website www.nhs.uk/smokefree

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