Health campaign urges residents to seek help over ‘deadly’ symptoms

Jane Hill

Jane Hill - Credit: Supplied

A campaign has been launched across North Somerset and the South West urging people to be wary of life-threatening lung and heart disease symptoms.

The Be Clear On Cancer campaign, run by Public Health England (PHE), encourages people to seek medical help if they find themselves getting out of breath while doing things they used to do.

Figures released by PHE show North Somerset has the fourth lowest number of registered people with either chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or (COPD) or coronary heart disease in the South West.

In 2015 there were 4,352 cases of COPD in North Somerset and 21,315 people suffering from coronary heart disease.

The district also has the second lowest number of lung cancer patients in the region, with 140 cases diagnosed in 2014.

Dr Mary Backhouse, clinical chair at North Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “Breathlessness or a persistent cough can be signs of lung disease, lung cancer or heart disease, some of the leading causes of death in England.

“Early diagnosis of these conditions is vital to saving lives and the CCG is working hard to ensure patients in North Somerset are given the best possible treatments, advice and support in tackling cancer.

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“We would encourage anyone experiencing breathlessness or a persistent cough to visit a GP to get their symptoms checked out.

“Diagnosing cancer earlier means treating it sooner and more effectively, and gives our patients the best possible chance of survival.”

Jane Hill, from Portishead, has recently been given the all-clear after a battle with lung cancer, and believes early diagnosis was key to her survival.

She said: “I suffered from a persistent cough for several months, but it wasn’t until I started feeling breathless too that I went to see my doctor.

“I didn’t know that a cough could be a sign of something serious, and I assumed it was a result of my old smoking habit.

“I would urge anybody suffering from a persistent cough or feeling breathless to go and see their doctor, as an early diagnosis can make all the difference.”