Persistent cough? Breathless? See your GP urges new campaign

Persistent cough? Breathless? See your GP urges new campaign

If you've got a persistent cough or have been getting out of breath more than normal, it's time to see your GP as it could be a sign of lung cancer, lung disease or heart disease

That's the message from a new campaign launched by Public Health England, backed by a catalogue of famous faces including Dame Esther Rantzen, Arlene Phillips and Lucy Briers, all of whom have a personal connection to one of these three diseases.

The campaign is all about getting everyone clear on the signs of lung cancer, lung disease and heart disease – conditions that cause more than 150,000 deaths in England each year.

 Dame Esther Rantzen, who's husband had heart disease, is backing the campaign

Dame Esther Rantzen, who's husband had heart disease, is backing the campaign

That's why this latest campaign is urging anyone who's had a cough for three weeks or more or who gets out of breath more than usual doing everyday tasks, like vacuuming or mowing the lawn, to visit their GP.

A persistent cough could be a sign of lung cancer or lung disease, while breathlessness could be a sign of heart disease as well.

Early diagnosis, helped by being wise to the symptoms of these conditions and getting them checked out early, has the potential to save lives and improve the quality of life of those living with conditions such as COPD (a common form of lung disease that includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis).

The Be Clear on Cancer campaign is aimed at men and women aged 50 and over, as older people are most at risk of lung cancer, COPD and heart disease. 

Many of the celebrities backing the campaign have a close, personal connection to one of the diseases.

Dame Esther Rantzen who's beloved husband Desmond Wilcox had heart disease said: “My husband was diagnosed with heart disease in 1986. We were very lucky he went to see the GP when he first had symptoms, because it enabled him to be treated and he could manage his condition. It gave us 15 extra years we might not have had, which I am so grateful for. Everyone gets breathless now and again, but if it feels unusual or you’re getting out of breath doing everyday things, you must go and see the GP."

Meanwhile, Arlene Phillips said: “My best friend, Molly Molloy, passed away last year from lung cancer. She had this cough that didn’t seem to go away, but every time I asked her about it she said it was a virus and it would go – we had no idea that the cough was a symptom of something more serious until it was too late. This campaign is so important and I hope everyone takes note."

  • For more information about the signs and symptoms of lung cancer, lung disease and heart disease, search Be Clear on Cancer’.
  • For more health advice, pick up the latest copy of Yours magazine