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NHS: How a prolonged cough could be a sign of deadliest cancer, not coronavirus

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The NHS and its experts warn that a cough that persists for more than three weeks could be an urgent symptom of lung-cancer if the patient has tested negative for COVID-19.

While the world is still battling with the COVID-19 and its continually emerging new variants, there’s another disease with overlapping symptoms that are knocking on our doors. The researchers from the United Kingdom in their latest study have revealed certain mind-boggling facts and cases that none should miss.

In a recent study, conducted by the NHS and Public Health England (PHE), prolonged cough which lasts for more than three weeks, which is a proven symptom of coronavirus, is found to be suggestive of lung cancer. The research also observed that more than two-thirds of the people who experience a prolonged cough lasting for more than three weeks would not see a doctor since their COVID-19 tests were negative.

The NHS has tried to mark a difference between the two cases,  suggesting that on experiencing persistent cough one must get tested for COVID-19. The symptom could be individual or accompanied by a rise in body temperature and lack of taste and smell. However, on having a continual cough despite being tested negative, one must absolutely consult a general practitioner.

The NHS said that more than 30% of people who were surveyed weren’t keen on seeing a doctor as they believed they were “burdening the NHS”. Also, 25% of the people refrained from consulting a doctor since they were expecting the symptoms to fade by themselves. Another aspect of research found that more than 76% of people motivated their dear ones to consult a doctor on experiencing persistent cough despite negative reports of COVID-19.

In accordance with the data given out by the agency, in the UK at least 39,000 people are found to have lung cancer. The NHS also states that its larger goal is to increase the rate of early detection of the disease “from half to three quarters,” since early detection can increase the chances of survival. If the disease is diagnosed at the first stage there is a 57.7% probability of adding five years to life. While on the other hand, these chances shrink to 31% when the disease is diagnosed at the fourth stage.

Another data from the NHS states that more than two cancer-related tests for every patient that was treated for coronavirus across all the hospitals in England.

They are strongly appealing to people having cancer symptoms to step ahead and get checked. The celebrities are also voicing the urge along with the NHS, to encourage people to book an appointment with their doctors on experiencing any unusual symptom. Celebrities such as Sir Andrews Straus and Gaby Roslin are a part of this campaign.

Former England Cricket Captain and the man who founded Ruth Straus Foundation, Sir Andrew Straus has a personal connection with the cause. His wife Ruth had died of lung cancer in 2018. “This is a campaign very close to my heart after losing my wife,” he said. He also emphasized the significance of getting diagnosed early and said that “It’s so important that if you notice any loved ones showing symptoms that could be a sign of cancer that you encourage them to contact their GP practice.”

Gaby Roslin who works as a presenter on television and radio, and runs a podcast as well, shared her personal experience regarding cancer. Her mother died of lung cancer, and her father survived bowel cancer.  On World Cancer Day in 2017, Gaby Roslin tweeted:

My mum died 20 years ago from lung cancer & my dad survived bowel cancer the same year. Together we can beat it! #WorldCancerDay #ActofUnity

Laying a huge emphasis on the importance of early diagnosis, the National Clinical Director for Cancer  Prof. Peter Johnson insisted people get checked for lung cancer if their cough remains despite a negative COVID-19 test. 

The risk of cancer that you don’t pay attention to is much greater than Covid-19,” he warned. 

He also reassured people that NHS is open to all and us willing to check people with serious symptoms “if it could save your life. “

A huge investment of around £160 million was made in ‘Covid-19-friendly’ cancer drugs that successfully treated patients without showing any major effect on their immune system.

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