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You probably saw at least one TV advert over the Easter break that warned viewers of the dangers and symptoms of lung cancer. The hard-hitting advert was part of a government cancer awareness campaign called ‘Be Clear On Cancer’ that ran from the 10th March until the end of April, and included TV, press and radio advertising, and had great results.
Attached to the adverts was the campaign’s key message: ‘Been coughing for three weeks? Tell your doctor’. The advert explains that a persistent cough might not ‘just be a cough’ like many patients would brush it off as, and that through seeing your doctor, finding and treating anything which might be cancerous becomes a lot easier.
The ‘Be Clear on Cancer’ campaign has been used to promote awareness of cancer since 2010, and has helped thousands of people receive an earlier diagnosis than they might have done had they not seen the advertising.
Results from previous years show that with the campaign, awareness was raised and so were the numbers of diagnosis. From May to July 2012, there were an estimated 700 additional cancers diagnosed above average, compared to the same period in the previous year. During this time, around 400 patients had their cancer diagnosed at an earlier stage and 300 additional people had surgery as a first treatment for lung cancer which had been diagnosed.
Around 24,000 people a year in the UK receive a lung cancer diagnosis when the cancer is at an advanced stage, and only 15% of cases are diagnosed at the earliest stage, when treatment is more likely to be successful. Hopefully, with campaigns like this, and more to follow in the future, both awareness of the disease and diagnosis rates will soar, saving lives and improving lung cancer’s survival rate significantly.