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Patient: 'It is so important people go to their doctor'

by Sarah Hibbard

Cancer campaigners are calling for more to be done to warn people in Wales about the signs and symptoms of lung cancer.

It is the biggest cancer killer here, and survival rates for the disease in Wales are also amongst the worst in Europe.

Mags Roberts was 52 when she went to her doctor, complaining of breathlessness, to be told she had advanced lung cancer.

Thanks to chemotherapy and daily tablets, her cancer is now under control, but she says: "it is just so important that people go to their doctors if they're not well."

Read More: What are the signs and symptoms of lung cancer?

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Welsh Govt: 'We need to go further' on lung cancer

The Welsh Government has pointed to its record over improving overall cancer survival rates here, but admitted "we need to go further when it comes to lung cancer."

Responding to call for a public awareness campaign on lung cancer symptoms, it says GPs will soon have to review every diagnosis to make improvements, and is "working hard" to drive down smoking levels.

The Welsh NHS is spending more than ever on cancer care and while Wales has shown the biggest improvement in overall cancer survival rates of all UK nations, we need to go further when it comes to lung cancer.

From this year all GPs will have to review every diagnosis of lung cancer to improve awareness and skills to support earlier diagnosis.

We currently fund a number anti-smoking and healthier lifestyle campaigns, however individuals have a key role in changing their habits to avoid unnecessary harm such as smoking.

We are working hard towards our ambitious target to drive down smoking levels to 16% by 2020.

People also need to make sure they do not ignore potential early symptoms such as a persistent cough and not put-off seeking medical attention.

– Welsh Government spokesperson

Tenovus: Campaign needed on lung cancer symptoms

Dr Ian Lewis, Director of Research and Policy at Welsh cancer charity Tenovus, says Public Health Wales and the Welsh Government should "promote the signs and symptoms of lung cancer, so that people present earlier at the GP and are more likely to receive successful treatment".

He says that, in addition to a public awareness campaign, there should be more investment in promoting healthier lifestyles, and particularly quitting smoking.

Lung cancer is the biggest cancer killer in Wales, accounting for 22 per cent of all cancer deaths - and a recent European survey ranked Wales 28th out of 29 countries for survival rates.

Read More: 'Poor survival rates' for people with lung cancer in Wales

Lung cancer experts call for better awareness

Wales has 'Europe's second-lowest lung cancer survival.' Credit: Rui Vieira/PA

The UK Lung Cancer Coalition (UKLCC) is calling for a Wales-wide awareness campaign highlighting the signs and symptoms of lung cancer.

It follows a report prepared for AMs into the impact of the disease in Wales.

It showed lung cancer is the biggest cancer killer in Wales accounting for almost a quarter of all cancer deaths. That's more then breast and bowel cancer combined.

It said just 7 per cent of lung cancer patients in Wales live up to five years after they are diagnosed.

For breast cancer it's over eight out of ten.

Groundbreaking new cancer study takes place in Cardiff

The new study will look at the treatment of end-stage lung cancer. Credit: ITV Wales News

Velindre Hospital in Cardiff is one of eight hospitals in the UK to take part in a new study looking at how to treat end-stage lung cancer, focusing on cancer that has been caused by prolonged exposure to asbestos.

The study will assess the targeting of cancer stem cells and a potential new treatment for pleural mesothelioma - an aggressive form of lung cancer strongly linked to asbestos exposure.

According to latest figures it is the most rapidly increasing cancer amongst women in the UK and the number of deaths caused by the disease each year has grown to more than 2,500.

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Lung cancer rising amongst women

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New figures show the number of women in Wales with lung cancer has nearly tripled in 30 years. Credit: ITV News Wales

The number of women in Wales being diagnosed with lung cancer is continuing to rise.

New figures released today by Cancer Research UK show that the number of women in Wales with lung cancer has nearly tripled in 30 years.

Figures from 2009 show that 960 women in Wales had lung cancer. This compares to 340 cases in 1975.

The research reveals that rates of the disease have risen from almost 19 women in every 100,000, thirty four years ago, to 38 out of 100,000 women.

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