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‘Three-week cough’ reminder campaign extended one month

This year’s re-run of the national ‘three-week cough’ lung cancer awareness campaign has been extended by a month until the end of April, Public Health England has confirmed.

The public health body decided to run the lung cancer campaign – which urges people to visit their GP if they have a cough lasting three weeks or longer – this year after results from the first campaign revealed it led to an additional 700 new lung cancer diagnoses.

The reminder campaign was announced in January and was provisionally scheduled to run from 10 to 31 March, ‘with the possibility of being extended into April’.

A Public Health England spokesperson explained to Pulse the extension has now been given the green light following approval of funding.

Some GP leaders have questioned the timing of the reminder campaign, which also overlaps with a breast cancer awareness campaign, running from February to mid-March.

A Pulse investigation revealed the 2012 campaign - which ran from May to June last year - also resulted in 200,000 additional GP consultations and LMC leaders warned the re-run would come at a particularly busy time at the year and could risk other, potentially more needy patients experiencing delays through the urgent referral pathway.

Readers' comments (1)

  • This is one of the most stupid campaigns of all time.

    There is no clear guidance on the age of the patient, and 3 weeks is too short.

    We are swamped with people who have lingering Viral URTIs panicking that they have lung cancer - from toddlers to people with known chest infections diagnosed and responding to antibiotics, but just not fully cleared in 3 weeks.

    6 weeks cough would be a better target, so when present get sent for CXR as local TWR guidance to rule out pathology.

    Otherwise a clear message - if you have a viral URTI - then you don't need to panic.

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