IT has been drilled into us all that a brand-new and consistent cough is a symptom of Covid.
I am sure I’m not alone in apologising when I’ve coughed in public, followed quickly by a reassuring: “It’s not Covid.”
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Provided the past year, it is unsurprising if we are acutely aware of any cough or splutter– and it is just natural if our first thought is of Covid.
If you observe a cough in addition to the other traditional signs– a high temperature and a loss of taste and/or smell– it is highly most likely those are triggered by coronavirus. The best thing to do is get a test to be sure.
But if your test result is negative and your cough persists, the NHS is advising people to act.
The Assistance Us, Assist You lung cancer project, which introduced this week, warns that almost half of us don’t understand a cough that lasts for longer than 3 weeks could be a sign of lung cancer.
The message is this: If you don’t have Covid however you do have a cough that isn’t getting better, see your GP. For the most part, it will not be cancer. But that is a possibility.
You might be thinking: “However I don’t smoke … so it can’t be lung cancer.” Yes, the disease– the most common reason for cancer death in the country– is far more common amongst smokers.
But there has actually been an increase in the number of non-smokers identified, which is why it is important you do not dismiss a cough or any of the other typical symptoms.
Don’t ignore any signs
Just like all cancers, the message is clear: The most hazardous mistake you can make is to overlook any indications, hoping they will go away.
The earlier any cancer is identified, lung cancer consisted of, the simpler it is to treat. And the greater your chances are of surviving.
A cough that lasts longer than three weeks is frequently one of the earliest warning signs. However there are other common symptoms of lung cancer. They include:
A long-standing cough that worsens
Chest infections that keep coming back
An ache or discomfort when breathing or coughing
Persistent shortness of breath
Consistent exhaustion or lack of energy
Loss of appetite or inexplicable weight reduction
Other less typical indications consist of:
Finger clubbing, where your nails end up being more curved or larger
Difficulty or pain when swallowing
A hoarse voice
Swelling of the face or neck
Relentless chest or shoulder pain
Now, it can be tough to evaluate when a cough is a cause for issue. It does not always have to hold true that you are constantly coughing all day. If it will not seem to move and is getting worse, speak with your medical professional.
It is also worth discussing that if you are the person with the cough, you may stop discovering it. So do listen if friend or family mention you are coughing a lot– and keep an eye on your liked ones too.
If you find somebody is coughing more than usual, gently let them understand and ask if they have had it checked out.
At the moment there are different methods of seeing your GP. It might be through email, phone or video call.
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If your GP believes your cough needs more examination, they will get you in to listen to your chest and can constantly refer you for an X-ray.
If you call your GP surgery, don’t be afraid to drop the “C word”. Tell the receptionist that is why you are stressed. It is handy for them to know.
If you are worried, call us. Your GP will wish to speak with you– and will want to help.
Dr Chris Steele on how to spot the signs of lung cancer early and cure the disease