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More than one in five people are unable to name any symptoms of the world's biggest cancer killer, according to a survey published to mark the start of Lung Cancer Awareness Month.
The research, which was carried out by Ipsos MORI on behalf of the Global Lung Cancer Coalition, investigated awareness of the symptoms of lung cancer and smoking prevalence in 21 countries.
Researchers found that across all the countries, 22% of people surveyed admitted they could not name any symptoms of the disease, which claims the lives of 1.37 million people globally every year.
In Britain, the survey found that;
The Global Lung Cancer Coalition's British members include the British Lung Foundation, the National Lung Cancer Forum for Nurses and the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation.
Paula Chadwick, chief executive of Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, said: "The majority of people know that a lump in their breast or their testicles can be a sign of cancer.
"However, awareness of the symptoms of lung cancer is exceptionally low despite it being the biggest cancer killer.
"The earlier people are diagnosed, the more chance they can receive treatment and the more lives that can be saved."
Dr Penny Woods, Chief Executive of the British Lung Foundation, said:
"With lung cancer killing more than any other cancer worldwide, it is concerning that there is still such a lack of lung cancer awareness, especially among smokers. Two out of every five lung cancer diagnoses are made when patients are admitted to A&E but most cases should be detectable long before this stage.
"It is vital that people become more aware of their lung health and the symptoms of lung cancer - this could make a huge difference in detecting lung cancer at an early stage and increasing the chances of successful treatment.
"Smoking causes more than 80% of lung cancers so it is also important that we continue to support smokers to quit whilst exploring new ways of discouraging young people from taking it up in the first place such as introducing standardised packaging for all tobacco products".
Diana Borthwick, from the National Lung Cancer Forum for Nurses, said: "This survey demonstrates that more work needs to be done around raising awareness nationally as well as globally.
"By increasing awareness and raising the profile of lung cancer we may hope to make the public more aware of the symptoms of lung cancer so they can seek help at an earlier stage."
The report found lack of awareness of lung cancer symptoms varied between different countries.
Egyptian (48%), Argentinian (42%), Mexican (35%) and Portuguese (33%) respondents are most likely to say they couldn't name any symptoms. At the other end of the spectrum, fewer than one in ten French (seven per cent) and Irish (nine per cent) people are unable to name any symptoms.
Overall, breathlessness was the most commonly identified symptom (41% of respondents mentioned it spontaneously on average across the countries) but a similar proportion identified a cough or coughing (39% on average across the countries). Others mentioned more specific types of coughing such as coughing blood or a cough that gets worse.
In Australia and Great Britain, current smokers are less aware of the symptoms of lung cancer than former smokers and people who have never smoked. In three countries (France, Ireland and Portugal), current smokers appear to have greater awareness of potential symptoms.
Cancer symptoms are quite varied and depend on where the cancer is located, where it has spread, and how big the tumor is. Lung cancer symptoms may take years before appearing, usually after the disease is in an advanced stage.
Many symptoms of lung cancer affect the chest and air passages. These include:
For further information please view the article "What Is Lung Cancer?"
Between 500 and 1204 respondents were interviewed in each country, either face-to-face or by telephone (omnibus survey), in between June and August 2013. Data have been weighted to the known population profile of each country.
The survey was conducted across Argentina, Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the USA.
Please note that overall figures are calculated by taking the average across the 21 countries.
 This is based on 2008 data – the latest available. http://globocan.iarc.fr/
 Please note the starting age varied slightly between countries. The lowest age for each country is as follows: Germany: 14 years; Australia, Ireland, Mexico and Norway: 15 years; Sweden: 17 years; Egypt and Japan: 20 years; all other countries: 18 years.
Global Lung Cancer Coalition (GLCC)
Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click 'references' tab above for source.
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Global Lung Cancer Coalition. "Brits unaware of symptoms of world's biggest cancer killer, lung cancer, according to new global survey." Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 1 Nov. 2013. Web.
12 Dec. 2013. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/268174>
Global Lung Cancer Coalition. (2013, November 1). "Brits unaware of symptoms of world's biggest cancer killer, lung cancer, according to new global survey." Medical News Today. Retrieved from
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