The sooner lung cancer is caught, the easier it is to treat.

However, vagueness of symptoms, symptom-overlap and disease misconceptions mean many patients face delays to their diagnosis. Many endure numerous visits to their GP before they are referred for tests, such as x-ray or low dose CT scan.

These delays could be difference between an early-stage diagnosis when curative treatment is possible, or late stage, terminal disease.

Our new awareness campaign On the Right Path aims to change this by:

Ian, June and Michelle quickly found themselves on the right path and all were diagnosed with early stage lung cancer.

The doctor said to me, “Look, Michelle, I’ll give you more antibiotics, but you’re over 65 and you are an ex-smoker so I suggests you have a CT scan under the two week rule.”

Michelle Howard, diagnosed with stage one lung cancer

Know all the signs

A persistent cough is just one of the potential symptoms of lung cancer. Other symptoms include breathlessness, repeat chest infections, fatigue and unexplained weight loss. Some people have just one symptom and some have several.

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Top tips for getting on the right path

People are still facing difficulties in getting a doctor’s appointment whilst those that do, aren’t always referred as quickly as they should be. Here’s our top tips for getting on the diagnostic pathway as soon as possible.

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I truly believe my age and the fact that I don’t look like someone who would have lung cancer is why I wasn’t picked up sooner.

Jules Fielder, diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer, aged 38

Jules’s lung cancer path

Looking back, I can now see my body was sending signals. They just weren’t pieced together. My back ache was put down to sciatica. My shoulder pain was diagnosed as tennis elbow (over the phone) and the lump in my neck was thought to just be a raised gland which people get when they are run down. This, coupled with the fact that I am only 38, a non-smoker and live a reasonably fit and healthy life, I believe, all contributed to my delayed diagnosis.

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Jules's lung cancer path

I went to doctors with what I thought was a chest infection. I was given antibiotics. When it didn’t get better, I was prescribed more. I was sent for an x-ray but told everything was ok and it was probably just pneumonia and would need 2-3 months to clear up.

Pete Blackman, diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer

The first step in improving earlier diagnosis is talking more openly about lung cancer.

Lung cancer is a disease that no one wants to talk about, but these conversations are vital to help lose the stigma, improve understanding and save lives.

Let’s Talk About Lung Cancer podcast

We are proud to launch our Let’s Talk About Lung Cancer podcast. Throughout Lung Cancer Awareness Month, we’ll be chatting to patients, supporters and healthcare professionals about their experiences of lung cancer to spark more open and positive conversations around this disease that affects so many of us.

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Let's Talk About Lung Cancer podcast

Julie’s lung cancer path

Julie described her diagnosis like being kidnapped and put in a horror movie. However, after having chemo and radiotherapy and now on a clinical trial, she sees some hope… with the little help from some important friends.

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Gordon’s lung cancer path

Gordon didn’t have symptoms when he was invited for a lung health check. In fact, he was feeling the best he had in years. He realised it was important to still check everything was ok. It wasn’t but then it was again…

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You can help people get On the Right Path by sharing the campaign online and in your local area.