See your local GP if you have a constant cough

Sir Alex Ferguson is backing the Scottish Government campaign encouraging people to be aware of the symptoms of lung cancer
Sir Alex Ferguson is backing the Scottish Government campaign encouraging people to be aware of the symptoms of lung cancer

Scots are being urged to see their GP if they have been coughing for three weeks or more in a bid to boost early detection of lung cancer.

The Scottish Government’s lung cancer campaign is highlighting the importance of getting a persistent cough checked, with analysis showing you are almost 20 times more likely to survive lung cancer if it is detected early

Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers in Scotland with 5,000 new cases diagnosed each year.

The new campaign is being fronted by football legend Sir Alex Ferguson, who lost both parents to the disease.

He said: “Everyone should be aware of the signs of lung cancer. If you or someone you know has a cough that won’t clear up, don’t ignore it.

“With higher survival rates for people who seek help at an earlier stage, it’s worthwhile raising it with your GP sooner rather than later.”

Experts say one reason patients are diagnosed so late is that they are unaware of the symptoms, which include a persistent cough, chest pain, breathlessness and weight loss.

Health Secretary Shona Robison said: “The disease can develop slowly over a number of years and often causes no pain. It is much more treatable than it used to be but being switched on to the symptoms and acting quickly to have them checked by a GP are crucial.”

This latest drive is part of the ‘Detect Cancer Early’ programme which aims to increase the proportion of people who are diagnosed in the early stages of breast, bowel and lung cancer by 25 per cent by the end of 2015.

Dr Paul Baughan, Forth Valley Macmillan lead GP, said: “The sooner you contact your GP with your health concerns the quicker you can be helped. It could save your life! ”