As you may know if you follow us on Facebook ,Twitter or Instagram, we’ve been having a lot of success delivering the ‘small c’ cancer awareness campaign in Camden. As we pride ourselves on working with excellently trained health worker, last week our Ambassadors received the third cancer awareness training on the project, this time from the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation.
As outreach workers, lung cancer may be one of the most difficult things to talk to the public about. Talking to smokers about lung cancer is tricky, because you may get the “Oh, great, now you’re going to start lecturing me” knee jerk reaction, and talking to non-smokers about it is tricky, because you may get the “I’m not concerned, this only happens to smokers” reaction. A particularly unfortunate implication is that on top of, you know, battling cancer, lung cancer patients often suffer from a certain kind of social stigma; to the extent that some people may imply or believe that they have brought the disease upon themselves.
Well, how does this hold to the facts? Let’s see:
• It is known that smokers and ex-smokers have an increased risk of getting lung cancer.
• One out of every seven people diagnosed each year have never smoked.
• Passive smoking, or breathing in other people’s smoke, increases your risk, but not as much as smoking yourself.
• Contact with chemicals found in the workplace or environment, such as asbestos, radon and diesel exhaust fumes may also lead to an increase in lung cancer.
So, giving up smoking is one of the most important things you can do to decrease your lung cancer risk; but it is nowhere near as simple as “lung cancer happens to smokers”. Having a generally healthy lifestyle (exercise, eat your 5 a day, go easy on fatty foods, drink in moderation) also helps.
Also, recognising the signs of lung cancer sooner rather than later greatly improves your chances of survival; here’s what you should be on the lookout for:
If you notice any of these, do not delay talking to your GP.