Gaby Roslin features in NHS lung cancer awareness campaign
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Lung cancer is a devastating disease, but diagnosing it early could seriously improve your chances of recovery. Around 48,500 new diagnoses are recorded every year in the UK according to Cancer Research UK.
Recognising the condition and receiving treatment early is essential – and there’s one unusual sign in your foot that shouldn’t be ignored.
Tragically lung cancer doesn’t often cause noticeable symptoms until it has spread throughout the lungs or to other parts of the body.
Once this occurs the outlook for the condition isn’t as good as many other types of cancer.
For those living with the condition, around one in three will live for at least one year after they’re diagnosed and around one in 20 will survive for at least 10 years according to the NHS.
But the NHS say if it’s diagnosed early and the cancerous cells are confined to a small area, survival rates improve dramatically.
Although common symptoms of lung cancer in its later stages are confined to the chest and throat, such as chest pains or coughs, there could be another indication of the condition in your foot.
According to one report by Dr Stephen Darcy, pain in your heel could be an indicator of the disease.
Lung cancer can increase your chances of blood blots, this is called metastasis.
Pain in your heel could be due to a blood clot in the foot caused by cancer.
Dr Darcy found that one of his patients, a 63-year-old man, had experienced pain in his right foot for one to two months.
The patient smoked a staggering 120 packs of cigarettes a year.
After a series of misdiagnoses, this foot pain was attributed to metastasis caused by lung cancer.
Dr Darcy said: “I will never view foot pain in quite the same way again.”
He added: “In this case, a number of incorrect patterns were identified sequentially (plantar fasciitis, gout, stress fracture), delaying a correct diagnosis.”
Although this was a “relatively rare phenomenon of acrometastasis of primary lung cancer to the foot as a presenting concern,” it goes to show that this little known symptom should not be ignored.
What are the most common symptoms of lung cancer?
There are usually no early signs of lung cancer in its early stages, as it progresses the following common symptoms can emerge:
- A cough that persists after two to three weeks, or one that keeps getting worse
- Repeated chest infections
- Blood when your cough
- Pain experienced when breathing or coughing
- Persistent breathlessness
- A constant feeling of fatigue or lack of energy
- Unexpected weight loss or a loss of appetite
The NHS recommends that you should seek medical advice if you experience any of these symptoms as early diagnosis and treatment are essential.
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