South Tynesiders who have a persistent cough or get out of breath doing everyday things are being urged to visit their GP as the symptoms could be a sign of deadly lung cancer, lung disease or heart disease, health chiefs have warned.
Civic leaders in the borough are supporting the new Be Clear on Cancer campaign which is currently running.
While the symptoms may well be nothing serious, the Public Health England campaign, aimed at men and women aged 50 and over, makes it clear that if a person has either of these symptoms they should go to their doctor.
Latest figures show that in the North East 2,779 people were diagnosed with lung cancer in 2014 and 75,370 people in the region have already been diagnosed and are living with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease – a common form of lung disease that includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis), while 118, 296 have coronary heart disease.
Dr Jen Hunter, a GP registrar at Central Surgery, at Cleadon Park Primary Care Centre in South Shields, said: “Some people may not realise that a persistent cough or getting out of breath doing everyday tasks that you used to be able to do, such as mowing the lawn or vacuuming, could be a sign of lung cancer or other lung disease.
“Breathlessness could also be a potential sign of heart disease as well.”
Councillor Tracey Dixon, South Tyneside’s lead member for independence and wellbeing, added: “I would urge anyone who has any of these symptoms to make an appointment to see their GP as finding these conditions early makes them more treatable and could save lives.”
The campaign runs until October 16.