We are using November’s Lung Cancer Awareness Month to remind those living in regional WA of the symptoms of lung cancer and what to do if they notice any unusual changes to their body.
It’s important to visit your doctor, clinic nurse or Aboriginal health worker right away if you experience any symptoms.
If you’ve coughed up blood or had a long-standing cough that worsens or changes, repeated chest infections, shortness of breath, unexplained weight loss, difficulty swallowing, loss of appetite or persistent chest or shoulder pain, then it’s important to get it investigated.
It doesn’t mean you’ve got cancer, often it turns out to be something less serious, though it’s critical to have the symptoms investigated early to be sure.
Remember, the chances of successful treatment are much higher when cancer is found early.
Lung cancer was the fifth most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia in 2017 and the most common cause of cancer death in 2019 according to Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data.
In WA in 2018 , 1155 people were diagnosed with lung cancer and 752 people died from it.
Eighty per cent of lung cancers in Australia are caused by smoking.
Other known causes of lung cancer include occupational carcinogens such as silica dust and diesel engine exhaust and if a person has a family history of lung cancer or previous lung disease their risk of lung cancer is also increased.
1 Department of Health WA
2 Pandeya N, Wilson LF, Bain CJ, et al. Cancers in Australia in 2010 attributable to tobacco smoke. Aust N Z J Public Health 2015;39(5):464-70. doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1753-6405.12446