BREATHE A LITTLE BETTER
NOVEMBER is Lung Cancer Awareness Month and we’re urging all Far North Queensland locals to help raise awareness of the disease, reduce their risk and support those affected.
Lung cancer is the fourth most commonly diagnosed cancer in both men and women and is the leading cancerrelated cause of death in Queensland.
In Far North Queensland alone, around 140 people are diagnosed with lung cancer each year.
The main symptoms of lung cancer are a new dry cough or change in a chronic cough, chest pain or breathlessness, repeated bouts of pneumonia or bronchitis, or coughing or spitting up blood.
These symptoms do not necessarily mean you have cancer, but it’s important to talk to your general practitioner if you experience them, so they can be checked.
While there are many factors that can contribute to lung cancer, we do know that smoking is the leading cause — and because of this many patients, particularly nonsmokers, can feel stigmatised by their illness.
A cancer diagnosis is isolating – but it can be especially tough if there is stigma involved. Stigma contributes to psychological distress, negatively impacting on the patient’s quality of life and sometimes, tragically, influencing treatment decisions.
More education and awareness is needed to diminish lung cancer stigma, and with your help, we can ensure that no one goes through lung cancer alone.
If you or someone you know is affected by lung cancer, please call Cancer Council’s 13 11 20 for access to a comprehensive range of cancer publications, confidential support and referrals, or visit our website, cancerqld.org.au.
CHRIS MCMILLAN , Cancer Council Queensland chief executive officer