A persistent cough lasting longer than three weeks could be a sign of lung cancer, it is warned.
However, less than one in ten people believe a cough to be a symptom of the disease, according to DH statistics.
A newly-launched government campaign will urge people to visit their general practice if they have had a cough for more than three weeks.
Designed to raise awareness of the symptoms of lung cancer, national TV, radio, print and online media adverts will feature real-life GPs to take heed of lung cancer symptoms and seek help.
Such symptoms include:
▪ a cough that has got worse or changes
▪ repeated chest infections
▪ coughing up blood
▪ feeling more tired than usual for some time
▪ losing weight for no obvious reason
▪ an ache or pain in the chest or shoulder that has lasted some time.
"Lung cancer is the biggest cancer killer in this country but worryingly many people don't know the signs and symptoms that could save their lives,” said Care Services Minister Paul Burstow.
“The earlier lung cancer is diagnosed, the better the chance of survival.
"The message from this campaign is simple; if you have a persistent cough for three weeks or more, visit your GP.”
It is hoped the campaign could reduce the number of deaths from lung cancer in England by 1300.
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