News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 


Don't Take Your Lungs For Granted

Don't Take Your Lungs For Granted

A new report released today reveals New Zealanders know very little about the symptoms of lung cancer, or just how common lung cancer is.

This is despite the fact that lung cancer is the most common cause of death from cancer in New Zealand for both men and women.

According to Associate Professor Chris Atkinson, Oncologist and Cancer Society Medical Director, “Lung cancer accounts for around 19% of cancer deaths (almost 1,650 people per year) and 2,000 people are diagnosed with it every year”.1

“Whilst there is a strong association between smoking and lung cancer, non-smokers are at risk too. This Report highlights the need to raise awareness of the key symptoms of lung cancer. People need to know the symptoms and seek medical advice quickly,” says Chris Atkinson.

“The prognosis is much better when there is an early diagnosis,” he added.

The 2014 Lung Cancer Health Report, launched by the Minister of Health Tony Ryall at a Parliamentary reception today, identifies that of the 1,507 people surveyed, few could identify a common potential symptom of lung cancer. Only 29% identified a persistent cough and as few as 17% identified shortness of breath.2

In the Report, commissioned by Pfizer New Zealand, only 27% of those surveyed said they had a high knowledge of lung cancer. This is in contrast to 50% of women saying they have a high knowledge of breast cancer and 35% of men saying they have a high knowledge of prostate cancer. 43% of adults said they had a high knowledge of melanomas.2

“It’s easy to take our lungs for granted,” says Dalton Kelly, Chief Executive of the Cancer Society of New Zealand, “We breathe without even realising it. It’s time for Kiwis to brush up on their knowledge and be more aware and proactive when it comes to lung health”.

“It is important that we all know the signs and symptoms of lung cancer – so that we can be aware when ‘things are not right,’ and visit our health professional,” says Dalton Kelly.

“We know that smoking plays a large part in lung cancer, but not in every case. Whilst we actively promote healthy lifestyles the greatest urgency is to reduce children’s exposure to tobacco smoke to ensure they grow up with healthy lungs, and most importantly, don’t take up the habit,” says Dalton Kelly.

Survival from lung cancer in New Zealand, especially for Māori, is poor compared with many other countries. The five-year survival rate from lung cancer is around 10% in New Zealand for the total population and only 7% for Māori. Whereas, in Australia, and the USA, the survival rate is as high as 12-16% by comparison.3 It is thought the poorer survival rates in New Zealand reflect late diagnosis.

Chris Atkinson says “The disparity in lung cancer incidence, treatment and mortality rates between Māori and non-Māori suggest that Māori are waiting too long to see a doctor. When they do present to a GP or to A&E with blood in their spit, their lung cancer is often advanced and untreatable.

“By presenting to a GP early, a chest x-ray could rule out cancer, or diagnose it at an earlier stage when it may be treatable and curable,” adds Chris Atkinson.

Managing Director of Pfizer New Zealand, Melissa McGregor, says “This Report aims to dispel community misconceptions about lung cancer by encouraging people to both act early on symptoms and help prevent lung cancer by giving up smoking”.

“A greater awareness of symptoms and early intervention can help improve outcomes for a loved one. If this Report can help achieve a better quality of life for those diagnosed with lung cancer and allow them to spend more time with their whanau/family, then it has been a success,” adds Melissa McGregor.

The most common symptoms of lung cancer are:4

a cough that does not go away
hoarseness or loss of voice
repeated bouts of pneumonia or bronchitis
shortness of breath or increased breathlessness
noisy breathing
pain in the chest, upper back or ribs
coughing up blood
low energy levels
neck and arm swelling and swollen veins
Having any of these symptoms does not necessarily mean you have cancer but it is important to get your doctor to check you out.

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 
Scoop Review Of Books: Q&A: Prue Hyman On ‘Hopes Dashed?’

For Scoop Review of Books, Alison McCulloch interviewed Prue Hyman about her new book, part of the BWB Texts series, Hopes Dashed? The Economics of Gender Inequality More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Chuck Berry (And James Comey, And Bill English)

Back when many people were still treating rock’n’roll as a passing fad – was calypso going to be the new thing? – Chuck Berry knew that it had changed popular music forever. What is even more astonishing is that this 30-ish black r&b musician from a middle class family in St Louis could manage to recreate the world of white teenagers, at a time when the very notion of a “teenager” had just been invented. More>>

Howard Davis Review:
The Baroque Fusion Of L'arpeggiata

Named after a toccata by German composer Girolamo Kapsberger, L'Arpeggiata produces its unmistakable sonority mainly from the resonance of plucked strings, creating a tightly-woven acoustic texture that is both idiosyncratic and immediately identifiable. Director Christina Pluhar engenders this distinctive tonality associated with the ensemble she founded in 2000 by inviting musicians and vocalists from around the world to collaborate on specific projects illuminated by her musicological research. More>>

African Masks And Sculpture: Attic Discovery On Display At Expressions Whirinaki

Ranging from masks studded with nails and shards of glass to statues laden with magical metal, the works are from ethnic groups in nine countries ranging from Ivory Coast to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. More>>

Obituary: Andrew Little Remembers Murray Ball

“Murray mined a rich vein of New Zealand popular culture and exported it to the world. Wal and Dog and all the other Kiwi characters he crafted through Footrot Flats were hugely popular here and in Australia, Europe and North America." More>>

ALSO:

Organised Choas: NZ Fringe Festival 2017 Awards

Three more weeks of organised chaos have come to an end with the Wellington NZ Fringe Arts Festival Awards Ceremony as a chance to celebrate all our Fringe artists for their talent, ingenuity, and chutzpah! More>>

ALSO:

Wellington.Scoop: Wellington Writer Wins $US165,000 Literature Prize

Victoria University of Wellington staff member and alumna Ashleigh Young has won a prestigious Windham-Campbell Literature Prize worth USD$165,000 for her book of essays Can You Tolerate This? More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: We’re All Lab Rats

A couple of years ago, there were reports that Silicon Valley executives were sending their children to tech-free schools. It was a story that dripped of irony: geeks in the heart of techno-utopia rejecting their ideology when it came to their own kids. But the story didn’t catch on, and an awkward question lingered. Why were the engineers of the future desperate to part their gadgets from their children? More>>

  • CensusAtSchool - Most kids have no screen-time limits
  • Netsafe - Half of NZ high school students unsupervised online
  • Get More From Scoop

     
     

    LATEST HEADLINES

     
     
     
     
    Health
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news