Pharmacists urge locals to get persistent coughs checked

People in Aberdeenshire aged over 40 who have been using cough medicine to treat a cough that has lasted three weeks or more are being urged not to keep ‘bottling it’ and contact their GP practice to get checked.

Monday, 19th July 2021, 12:16 pm
Professor Harry McQuillan is urging those who have persistent and prolonged coughs to get it checked out.

Community Pharmacy Scotland has backed the latest Scottish Government Detect Cancer Early (DCE) awareness drive, designed to increase the number of lung cancers diagnosed at an earlier stage.

The organisation’s Chief Executive Professor Harry McQuillan reassured that although the vast majority of coughs resolve on their own, those who have persistent and prolonged coughs, that they’re continuing to treat with a cough medicine, should contact their GP practice to get checked.

Following a national DCE advertising campaign, campaign posters and leaflets urging people not to let lung cancer ‘settle in’, are being displayed in local pharmacies. These highlight the key symptoms of lung cancer, which include unusual breathlessness or a new or different persistent cough lasting for over three weeks.

Lung cancer is the most common cancer in Scotland with around 5,500 new cases diagnosed every year. However more people than ever are surviving the disease thanks to improved treatments and more people being diagnosed at an early stage.

Professor Harry McQuillan said: “Scotland’s NHS Pharmacy First service has enabled people to access NHS services throughout the pandemic, with pharmacists providing advice and treatment for minor illnesses and conditions.

“If you’ve tested negative for COVID-19 and have a new or persistent cough, lasting three weeks or more, it’s time to contact your GP practice.

“The vast majority of coughs clear up in a couple of weeks, but a cough that persists can be a sign of lung cancer, so it’s best to get it checked, especially if you are over 40.

“Without realising it, you may have worked through a few cough bottles to treat a cough that hasn’t got any better – don’t keep bottling it and make an appointment with your GP practice.”

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf added: “Don’t ignore possible early cancer signs and symptoms, and certainly don’t delay getting checked.”

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