London: A new government advertising drive has warned the public to be vigilant about persistent coughs as they could be a sign of lung cancer.
The campaign, which is being run in TV, radio, print and online media, recommends people with coughs lasting three weeks visit their GP.
Research has shown that the public are much more aware that lumps and bleeding are warning signs of cancer than a cough, but the ads make clear persistent coughs should also raise alarm bells.
The push is being backed by celebrities including comedian and actor Ricky Gervais, TV star Linda Robson and Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
“It is vital that cancer patients get treated quickly so they have the best chance of surviving,” the BBC quoted Mike Richards, Cancer tsar Professor as saying.
Lung cancer affects 33,000 people in England every year, with the majority of cases occurring in people over the age of 55.
But when diagnosed at an early stage, as many as 80 percent are alive five years after diagnosis compared with 7 percent if it is spotted late on.