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Cancer is among the biggest causes of death in the UK alongside other conditions such as dementia and heart disease.
There are more than 200 types of cancer that can affect different areas of the body.
However, one cancer has consistently been shown to be more deadly than others.
Lung cancer accounts for almost 35,000 fatalities in the UK every year – equating to 21 percent of all cancer deaths.
And now, never-before-tried research has proved that lung cancer claims the most years of life lost than any other form of the disease.
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A new study by King’s College London, funded by Cancer Research UK, has revealed which cancers rob most from sufferers in terms of years of life with their loved ones.
Overall, it was calculated that cancer steals two million years of life every year – based on average life expectancy.
The study, published in the British Journal of Cancer, showed that of those two million years, lung cancer deaths were responsible for 500,000 years.
Bowel cancer was next with 214,000 years of life lost, while breast cancer claimed 197,000 years.
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This was followed by 127,000 years for pancreatic cancer and 114,000 for cancer of the oesophagus.
The study looked at the period of 1988 and 1992 and compared average annual years of life lost to the period of 2013 to 2017.
One of the study authors, Doctor Judith Offman – from Queen Mary University of London, said: “This analysis allows us to see the impact cancer has on patients and their families, and the precious time that is lost as a result.
“Measuring years of life lost over a 30-year period provides a different lens to evaluate where health policies and advances in treatment have worked and highlight areas where more needs to be done.
“Research like this is instrumental in helping leaders in health and politics make the best decisions for patients and their loved ones.”
Around 80 percent of cases of lung cancer are thought to be preventable, with 72 percent linked to smoking.
Exposure to air pollution and substances such as asbestos and silica also increase the risk of the disease.
According to Cancer Research UK, lung cancer doesn’t always present with symptoms in its early stages.
However, symptoms of the disease can include:
- Having a new cough or a cough most of the time
- Getting out of breath doing the things you used to do without a problem
- Coughing up phlegm (sputum) with blood in it
- Having an ache or pain in the chest or shoulder
- Chest infections that keep coming back or a chest infection that doesn’t get better
- Losing your appetite
- Feeling tired all the time (fatigue)
- Losing weight.
Less common symptoms include swollen fingers and nails, known as finger clubbing. It can also cause pain and swelling in the joints.
If you notice any of these signs you should see your GP “as soon as possible”, the charity says.
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