Be Clear on Cancer

We’re proud to support Public Health England’s ‘Be Clear on Cancer Respiratory’ campaign, encouraging people who’ve had a cough for three weeks or more to go and see their doctor.

Be Clear on Cancer respiratory campaign
Be Clear on Cancer respiratory campaign

That’s exactly what Shan Evans and Lesley Booth both did, and it saved their lives! Pat Tollady’s story is a sharp reminder of the other signs and symptoms of lung cancer.

Lung Cancer Signs and Symptoms

It’s very easy to dismiss such symptoms like a persistent cough or breathlessness as ‘something’ else – you’re tired, you’re just a bit rundown, you’ve been fighting off a cold for a while now.

However, the fact is you need to tell a doctor straightaway if you have been coughing for three weeks or more or if you have any of these following symptoms:

  • A persistent cough
  • Breathlessness
  • Coughing up blood
  • Repeat chest infections
  • Chest or shoulder pain
  • Hoarseness
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss.

Catching it early is your best chance of beating it

Many people are reluctant to visit their doctor when they ‘only have a cough’. A persistent cough, though, could be a sign of lung disease, including lung cancer. Detecting lung cancer early makes it easier to treat and significantly increases your chances of survival so a trip to the GP is anything but a waste of time.

So, if you’ve had a cough for three weeks or more, or you’re experiencing any other lung cancer symptoms, visit your GP; and if you’ve noticed that someone you know has a persistent cough, encourage them to make an appointment.

We know it can be scary but catching it early really does give you the best chance – just ask Shan, Lesley and Pat.

Reduce your risk

A healthy lifestyle can help you reduce your risk of lung cancer. Some ways to stay healthy are:

  • Stop smoking: If you smoke, the best thing you can do for your health is to quit. There’s plenty of support available from the NHS. Visit nhs.uk/smokefree or call 0300 123 1044. Our online forum, Quit Support, can also be a vital support.
  • Look after yourself: Try to maintain a healthy weight and keep active. Swimming, cycling, dancing, walking – the more you can do, the better. Try to eat a healthy, balanced diet too, with plenty of fruit and vegetables.
  • Cut down on alcohol: Drinking too much alcohol can lead to a number of health problems. By drinking less, you’ll reduce your health risks.


After the first national lung cancer campaign in 2012:

  • Around 700 more people were diagnosed with lung cancer
  • Around 400 more people were diagnosed at an early stage
  • Around 300 additional patients had surgery as a first line treatment, giving them the best chance of survival.

Between 2011 and 2015 the number of urgent GP referrals (also known as ‘two week wait’ referrals) for suspected lung cancer doubled. There was a long-term decreasing trend in the proportion of patients diagnosed as a result of an emergency presentation. There is evidence of a significant and positive stage shift (towards earlier stage disease) in patients diagnosed after all three of the national campaigns.

Be Clear on Cancer: Regional and national lung cancer awareness campaigns 2011 to 2014 Final evaluation results