Why you should contact your doctor immediately about lung problems

PUBLISHED: 10:59 12 November 2009 | UPDATED: 14:39 06 May 2010

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. Nearly 39,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer each year, making it the UK s biggest cance

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.

Nearly 39,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer each year, making it the UK's biggest cancer killer.

The average time from diagnosis to death is just six months, partly because lung cancer is known as the invisible or forgotten disease as symptoms can include a continuous cough, breathlessness or wheezing which can be associated with other illnesses.

Smoking increases the risk of lung cancer but while giving it up reduces the risk over time, it is now known that breathing other people's smoke can also increase the possibility of contracting the disease although the risk is significantly lower.

But it is never too late to give up and the sooner the better, even if you have been smoking for much of your life.

Grove House is urging anyone with symptoms of lung cancer to contact their doctor because treatment is available including surgery, depending on the progression of the cancer, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. A specialist cancer nurse may also be allocated to help cope with some of the feelings of shock and anxiety that can accompany a cancer diagnosis.

Grove House supports people with cancer or other life-threatening illness, offering advice, information and practical support from diagnosis through illness. The hospice's Canceri drop-in information centre is on hand to support anyone recently diagnosed with lung cancer and the service is available to family and friends of the diagnosed as well.

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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