Lung cancer does not discriminate. Anyone can be diagnosed with it.
To see Cheltenham Town adorned in the British Lung Foundation colours this weekend is a wonderful way of raising awareness, writes Ian Jarrold, Head of Research for the charity.
Lung cancer is the biggest cancer killer in the UK and tackling it is one of our greatest challenges, but pioneering research is giving hope to many lung cancer patients, like Vicky and their families.
Cancer develops when certain cells escape from the body’s control and begin to change. These abnormal cells, which we know as cancer cells, start to increase and grow to form a tumour.
Research has the potential to improve our understanding of lung cancer and provide personalised medicine, something that has already led to huge improvements in the treatment of many cancers.
With 100 people dying each day from lung cancer, it is vital that well-funded and continued investment in developing new approaches and clinical trials remain a priority.
At the British Lung Foundation, we are currently funding three lung cancer specific research projects that could potentially provide ground-breaking outcomes for many people living with lung cancer.
This includes a programme investigating the role immunotherapies could play in the treatment of lung cancer. This research is taking place at the School of Medicine at Southampton General Hospital.
Immunotherapy aims to help the body’s immune system do its job better and fight disease. It has been known to show promising results in other cancers, but is relatively new to lung cancer research.
Currently, positive results are often low, but this innovative study will look at how we can use immunotherapy to replicate the significant improvements seen in other cancers.
At the Barts Cancer Institute, a detailed research project is underway looking at the role a particular cell plays in the development of lung cancer.
The institute has encouraging data from its previous studies into breast and pancreatic disease. The hope being that if this success can be repeated, clinical trials for lung cancer could be developed.
The third project is taking place in Scotland. The University of Glasgow Institute of Cancer Sciences is investigating the role existing drugs used in other diseases can play in advanced or unresponsive lung cancer. The hope is that this will lead to an improvement in survival.
Research is a vital tool in the quest to prevent, treat and cure lung cancer and we are seeing promising results, but just as important is public awareness and knowing the signs and symptoms.
The challenge with lung cancer is that many people don’t have obvious symptoms until the cancer is fairly advanced.
As lung cancer progresses, many will begin to experience symptoms, such as:
- a cough
- feeling out of breath
- chest pain
- feeling tired
- appetite loss
- weight loss
- a hoarse voice
- blood in your mucus or phlegm
People with any of these symptoms should see their doctor. Having these symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean you have lung cancer – they’re common and have many different causes but the earlier lung cancer is caught, the better.
The British Lung Foundation has been researching lung conditions for 30 years. Today, it remains at the heart of what we do. Research is paving the way, shining a light on advances in medicine and in turn, offering hope to people living with lung cancer.
To find out more about our work please visit the British Lung Foundation website, and to donate £3 you can text CTFC17 to 70070.