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November, Lung Cancer Awareness Month, provides the opportunity to raise community awareness of lung cancer and the signs and symptoms of the disease.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of death in Australia with around 11,000 people diagnosed in Australia each year. The symptoms of lung cancer can often be vague and mimic those of other conditions, so it’s important to know what your cough is telling you.

The signs and symptoms of lung cancer can include:

  • a new cough that has persisted for 3 weeks or more
  • a changed cough
  • coughing up blood
  • a chest infection that won’t go away
  • chest pain and/or shoulder pain
  • shortness of breath
  • hoarse voice
  • weight loss or loss of appetite

Cancer Australia has a brochure and poster called  'What's your cough telling you?' that provides information on the symptoms of lung cancer and the importance of early assessment by a GP or healthcare worker. The resources dispels some of the common misconceptions about the disease including that young people and non-smokers won't get the disease.

If lung cancer is found at an earlier stage there is more chance of a better outcome. New treatments are likely to continue to improve the outcomes for people affected by the disease.

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