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Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer death in the UK, with only 16% of patients expected to survive more than five years, and over half being diagnosed with advanced stages of the disease.

It can affect anyone, smokers and non-smokers alike, with lung cancer in never-smokers on the rise and now the UK’s 8th most common cause of cancer-related death.

Lung cancer can affect anyone, smokers and non-smokers alike, with lung cancer in never-smokers on the rise and now the UK’s 8th most common cause of cancer-related deaths. Early investigation and referral is the key to improving outcomes. Early diagnosis saves lives.

We are delighted to have partnered with patient-led charities EGFR Positive UK and ALK Positive UK on the “See Through the Symptoms” campaign. The campaign features arresting photographs by renowned British photographer Rankin, whose mother died of Lung Cancer in 2005. The campaign urges GPs and primary healthcare professionals to act on the symptoms of lung cancer, regardless of the smoking history or age of the patient.

HCP looking at x-ray

One of the Ruth Strauss Foundation's aims is to raise awareness of never-smoking lung cancers and improve overall outcomes for patients diagnosed with this cancer. Like Ruth, too many people are dying from never smoking lung cancer each year. Due to the perception of lung cancers being a smoker’s illness, patient's symptoms are not always picked up early enough. Diagnosing lung cancer early, gives patients more options for treatment and more years to their lives”

Deepa DoshiHead of Mission Services, RSF

The campaign has the support of the British Thoracic Oncology Group, the British Lung Foundation and the Primary Care Respiratory Trust as well as leading respiratory physicians and oncologists.

Further information for GPs and Healthcare Professionals can be found here:
See through the Symptoms websitePlay Video
Watch Video

I’m pleased to see the launch of this campaign. I see too many patients who have never smoked present with late-stage lung cancers. It is really important that we raise awareness amongst all healthcare professionals, that people who have never smoked can get lung cancer too.

Prof. Sanjay PopatConsultant Thoracic Medical Oncologist at the Royal Marsden Hospital

Have you been diagnosed with a non-smoking lung cancer?

If you have been diagnosed with ALK, EGFR or ROS1 postive lung cancer and would like more information or further support, you could reach out to one of the following charities:

ALK Positive UK

ALK Positive UK lung cancer charity specialises in providing support, advocacy, and a better quality of life for all ALK positive lung cancer patients across the United Kingdom. If you have been diagnosed with an ALK Positive lung cancer, you can find more information and support here.

ALK Postive UK

ROS1-positive Lung Cancer

ROS1dersUK is a group for all ROS1+ patients and carers. They provide support, share information and advocate for progress in ROS1+ cancer care. ROS1 is a rare form of cancer, but with ROS1ders UK you are not alone.

ROS1-Positive UK

EGFR Positive UK

EGFR Positive UK is a specialist lung cancer charity focused on supporting and improving the overall survival and quality of life of EGFR positive patients across the UK. If you have been diagnosed with an EGFR positive lung cancer, you can find more information and support here.

EGFR Positive UK

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with an incurable illness, and would like some advice and support on how to talk to your children about this, please contact us at:  [email protected].

Non-smoking lung cancer

What are the symptoms of lung cancer in non-smokers?

Very similar to lung cancer symptoms, non-smoking lung cancer symptoms could present as follows:

  • A persistent cough.
  • Repeated chest infection (upper respiratory infections)
  • Trouble breathing or wheezing / shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Blood in coughed up sputum
  • Hoarseness.
  • Loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss.
  • Chest discomfort or pain.

It’s important that even young non-smokers who develop a persistent cough get checked by a doctor. Early testing means early treatment which saves lives. Note that a cough is also a common symptom of COVID-19. It is still important to contact your GP if you have a new or worsening cough. They can speak to you over the phone or by a video call and can arrange for tests if required.