November is lung cancer awareness month | Fieldfisher
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November is lung cancer awareness month

Lung cancer is the one of the most common forms of cancer and the most common cause of death among cancer sufferers globally. According to the British Lung Foundation, 48,500 people In the UK are diagnosed with lung cancer every year. It can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender or whether or not they smoke.

Lung cancer awareness month exists to raise awareness each year about the symptoms, causes and treatments available for lung cancer. It serves to educate the public through campaigns, research publications and events and encourages those who may be reluctant to see their doctor about that nagging cough to take action and book that appointment with their GP.


Most of the symptoms associated with lung cancer are well known – a persistent cough, coughing up blood and feeling breathless. But there are some lesser-known symptoms that sometimes go unchecked, such as a hoarse voice, a reduced appetite and shoulder pain. Most common symptoms:

  • A persistent cough lasting more than three weeks. 
  • Recurrent chest infections
  • Pain in the chest or shoulder
  • Coughing up blood or phlegm
  • Shortness of breath/wheezing
  • Tiredness, confusion and feeling weak
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Weight loss and loss of appetite

Lung cancer, if caught early enough, can be treated.


Smoking cigarettes is the biggest cause of lung cancer. The NHS advises that those that smoke 25 or more cigarettes a day are 25 times more likely to develop lung cancer. That does not mean that non-smokers are immune. The industrial disease team at Fieldfisher has settled thousands of cases for people who have developed lung cancer through exposure to toxic substances in the workplace. 


If you suffer with any of the above symptoms, especially if you are a smoker, it is important to see you GP. There is currently no national screening programme available and so if you suspect that you may have lung cancer, you should contact your GP without delay. 

Your GP may examine your chest and may test your breathing capacity with a device called a spirometer. They may refer you for a chest x-ray. If the Doctor who examines your x-ray result spots a white or greyish mass, they may then refer you to have a CT scan as x-rays are unable to distinguish between a tumour and something less sinister such as a lung abscess. A CT scan provides a much more detailed set of images of the lungs and is a quick and painless procedure. 

You may need to undergo a biopsy or other invasive procedure if your CT scan detects a cancerous formation. There are different types of biopsies depending on the location of the suspected cancer. If the cancer is detected in the centre of the chest than a bronchoscopy, the insertion of a small tube and camera into the airways, may be performed under local anaesthetic. If the cancer detected in the pleura, the lining of the chest, than you may need a thoracoscopy, which is performed under general anaesthetic as the Doctor will need to make small incisions and take tissue and fluid samples which will be sent away for testing.

Compensation for asbestos linked lung cancer

Asbestos exposure is known to increase the risk of lung cancer, especially in those who smoke. If you have been diagnosed with lung cancer and believe that you have been exposed to asbestos in the workplace, contact one of our specialist lawyers for a free consultation. 

We typically act for ex-laggers, shipyard builders and construction workers, but increasingly professions such as teaching and medicine are being cited as environments in which were exposed to asbestos.

If you are unsure about how you were exposed, our specialist team will be able to help. We have sued thousands of companies for negligently exposing employees and even bystanders to asbestos. Your dedicated lawyer will ask the right questions to help pinpoint how you may have been exposed and will be able to tell you almost straight away whether or not you have a case.

Read more about asbestos claims, particularly involving lung cancer. 

Hear from clients who have pursued asbestos disease claims. 

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