Lung Cancer Facts and Figures
Primary Message
 If you have a cough which lasts for three weeks or more, you
should see your doctor
 Finding lung cancer early makes it more treatable
Lung cancer
 Symptoms of lung cancer include:
 A cough that has lasted for three weeks or more
 Repeated chest infections
 Coughing up blood
 Breathlessness
 Feeling more tired than usual for no obvious reason
 Losing weight for no obvious reason
 An ache or pain in your chest or shoulder that has lasted
some time
 You need to see a doctor if you have been coughing for three
weeks or more.
 It’s probably nothing serious, but you need to get it checked out
 Knowing the symptoms of lung cancer and going to see the
doctor early could save your life
Early diagnosis
 Early diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer can save lives
 Spotting lung cancer early can make a real difference –
treatment for lung cancer is more likely to be successful if the
disease is diagnosed at an earlier stage
Visit your GP
 If you notice any of these symptoms, tell your doctor
 Detecting lung cancer early makes it easier to treat, so seeing
your doctor quickly may save your life
 It’s probably nothing serious but it could also be a sign of
something else that needs treatment, so don’t ignore the
symptoms or put off a trip to the doctor
 And if you know anyone who has any of these symptoms, insist
they see their doctor. Again, it’s probably nothing serious, but
they should get it checked out
 Your doctor wants to see you if you have any of these
 If you know someone with a persistent cough, encourage and
support them to go to their doctor
 People care about you – if they suggest you go to the doctor,
you should listen
Facts and statistics
The first national Be Clear on Cancer lung cancer campaign ran from
8 May – 1 July 2012, with encouraging results. In May – July 2012, compared
with the same period in the previous year:
Around 700 extra patients were diagnosed with lung cancer
Approximately 400 more patients had their lung cancer diagnosed at an
early stage – the earlier cancer is diagnosed, the more likely treatment is
to be successful.
Around 300 more patients had surgery which gives them the best chance
of prolonged survival.
There was around a 32% increase in two-week wait referrals for
suspected lung cancer
Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers in England with around 34,900
people diagnosed every year. Around 97% of these are aged 50 and overi
In England, around 28,100 people die from lung cancer every year, killing more
men and women than any other cancerii
Lung cancer has one of the lowest survival rates compared with other cancers
because over two-thirds of patients are diagnosed at a late stage. Around 70%
are diagnosed at a late stageiii when curative treatment is not possible.
Not enough people are diagnosed early with lung cancer. To help improve
survival rates it is important to raise awareness of the symptoms and encourage
people to visit their doctor if they experience any of these symptoms
Those diagnosed at the earliest stage are five times more likely to survive lung
cancer for at least five years than those diagnosed at a late stage.iv
When diagnosed at its earliest stage, around 73% of patients with non small cell
lung cancer and around 56% of patients with small cell lung cancer will survive
their disease for at least one year after diagnosisv
In 2009 it was estimated that around 1,300 deaths from lung cancer could be
avoided in England each year if survival rates matched the best in
Although lung cancer is more common in smokers, around one in eight people
with lung cancer has never smokedvii.
The Be Clear on Cancer lung cancer campaign aims to raise awareness of the
symptoms of lung cancer (focusing on a cough for more than three weeks) and to
encourage people with those symptoms to go and see their GP. Diagnosing lung
cancer early means it’s more likely to be treatable.
All of the GPs featured in the Be Clear on Cancer adverts are practising GPs.
The call to action in all Be Clear on Cancer campaigns is to “tell your doctor” if
you have the given symptoms.
The Be Clear on Cancer lung cancer campaign has run nationally twice before.
Other Be Clear on Cancer campaigns that have run previously are: bowel cancer;
“blood in pee”, a symptom of bladder and kidney cancer; and breast cancer in
older women (finishing on 16th March). There has also been a range of campaign
pilots at a regional and local level. All Be Clear on Cancer campaigns are aimed
at those most likely to develop cancer.