November is Australia’s Lung Cancer Awareness Month and this month, we are urging people, especially smokers to be aware of the signs and symptoms of lung cancer and what we can offer as part of our “Quit Smoking Comprehensive Treatment” service to help prevent the risk of developing lung cancer.
Lung cancer is a serious health issue in Australia and is the leading cancer killer for both men and women across the country. In fact, lung cancer is estimated to kill just under 50,000 Australians in 2020 alone.
So what makes lung cancer so deadly?
Lung cancer is serious
Despite killing thousands of Australians every year, it is astonishing that many people know very little about this disease. What makes lung cancer a serious threat to your life is that it rather grows slow and sometimes may take up to several years to notice any symptoms.
So, by the time you are diagnosed with lung cancer, it may be possible that it has spread to other organs. Since the symptoms of lung cancer can be unspecific, it is only through an early lung cancer screening that can prevent and mitigate the risk of lung cancer.
The fact that tobacco smoking causes cancer is indisputable. Smoking cigarettes and the use of tobacco is the leading cause of most cancers including lung cancer. In fact, smoking just 10 cigarettes per day doubles your risk of dying compared to those who have never smoked in their life.
It is best to be able to identify the early signs and symptoms of lung cancer.
Look for early lung cancer symptoms including:
- Shortness of breath and changes in your breathing habit such as breath heavily while carrying out physical work
- Chest pain that is persistent within the same area
- Wheezing when you breathe caused due to inflammation in the lungs
- Loss of body weight can be associated with lung cancer along with loss of energy levels
- If cancer starts spreading to nearby bones, your bones and muscles will start aching. The bone pain can be worse during the night and with movements
- Headaches are one of the most commonly seen early signs of lung cancer. The headaches can also lead to migraines in worse case
Quitting smoking can be your greatest health accomplishment
Many people don’t realise that your GP can be your excellent point of contact if you’re thinking to quit smoking.
Visiting your GP is the first good step when you are considering to quit smoking, especially if you’re pregnant or have a medical condition that gets worse with the use of tobacco.
Studies have shown that as soon as you quit smoking, there are both long-term and immediate health benefits even when you are a regular smoker.
According to the World Health Organisation, a myriad of health changes takes place almost immediately after stopping to smoke such as:
- Within 20 minutes, your heart rate and blood pressure reduction
- Within hours, your carbon monoxide level drops down to normal
- Your risk for coronary heart diseases reduces by half to that of a regular tobacco user
- In 10 years, your risk of lung cancer almost falls to half as well as reduces the risk to other cancer types such as throat, mouth and pancreas
How can our GP help you quit smoking?
General practitioners and primary care nurses are well placed to provide the best practice of smoking cessation care to patients who wants to quit smoking.
At our clinic, we have established a 5A approach that provides our GPs and medical professionals, a framework for helping patients reduce or quit smoking.
Our 5A approach to your quitting to smoke
Ask – GPs at Market Street Medical Practice will start your session by asking a range of questions to learn about your smoking habits and document that information in your medical record.
Advice – They will advise on the many alternatives that can help you quit smoking. In doing so, our GPs maintain that the advice given to our patients is clear, non-confrontational, unambiguous and personalised. They will ensure you get the space to open up about your smoking habits and help explore the many ways to successfully quit smoking.
Access – Assessments are a big part of our approach to help our patients to tailor our services according to the patient’s interest, their mental health wellness and physical abilities. To develop a comprehensive management plan for our patients, we at conduct a nicotine dependence assessment as well as other relevant tests to ensure we provide the best treatment plan for you.
Assist – We assist and offer our services to anyone who wants to quit smoking.
Arrange – We offer continued assistance through follow-up consultations, referral to experts and therapies such as nicotine replacement therapy, encourage the continuation of pharmacotherapy and behavioural intervention.
Book an appointment with our GPs
Once you have decided to quit smoking, visit our Brisbane based medical centre and meet our GPs who can best advise on how to take the next step.