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Smoking causes 90% of lung cancers, watchdog reveals

By John Mulgrew

Around 900 new cases of lung cancer are diagnosed in Northern Ireland each year, with smoking responsible for 90%.

The Public Health Agency (PHA) is calling on smokers to give up the habit to reduce their chances of getting lung cancer.

"Smoking cigarettes is the biggest risk factor for lung cancer and is responsible for around 90% of all cases," Colette Rogers of the PHA said.

"Using other types of tobacco products such as cigars, pipe tobacco and chewing tobacco can also increase your risk of developing cancer.

"However, you can reduce your risk by quitting now, no matter how long you have been smoking.

"Every year that you do not smoke, your risk of getting serious illnesses such as lung cancer will decrease. Smokers should be aware of the symptoms of lung cancer, and if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you need to see your GP urgently.

"Early diagnosis of lung cancer is important because early treatment can be more effective and survival (chances) can then be improved."

The symptoms of lung cancer can include a persistent cough, a sudden change in the nature of a cough, unexplained weight loss, breathlessness and chest pain. "Quitting is the single most important thing you can do for your health, and if you stop for 28 days or more, you are five time times more likely to stop for good," the PHA spokeswoman explained.

"However, it is not easy and different approaches will work for different people. While some people might be able to do it with very little support, others find that planning ahead and making use of the free stop smoking support services available can really help them make the decision permanent."

She added it often took "several efforts" for people to finally quit and stressed: "If you quit and relapse, accept it, work out why and focus on how you can avoid it in the future.

"It takes several efforts for many people to quit for good, but if you are determined you will do it."

Belfast Telegraph


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