Businesses, healthcare providers and individuals across the UK are being encouraged to get involved in this year’s Lung Cancer Awareness Month to highlight the leading cancer killer of men and women in all ethnic groups.

Lung Cancer Awareness Month is partly about raising funds to progress research into the treatment and prevention of the disease, but it is also aimed at raising awareness of the common symptoms and recognising the factors that can put individuals at greater risk of developing the condition.

Lung cancer can occur in many different forms, with symptoms sometimes only detected once the disease has spread. The delay in detection is mainly due to the fact that there are fewer pain receptors present in the lungs but also because many of the symptoms are similar to those of other common illnesses.

People suffering with persistent coughs, shortness of breath and unexplained weight loss are encouraged to visit their GPs as these can all be common symptoms associated with lung cancer. Diagnosis typically begins with a simple chest X-ray, followed up with other tests if an area of concern is found.

Cancer Research UK statistics show lung cancer to be the second most common cancer in the UK, with around 43,500 people diagnosed with the condition every year.

Research shows that people who have worked in environments where they may have been exposed to certain chemicals or materials, such as asbestos, are likely to be at greater risk of developing lung cancer, along with other industrial diseases including asbestosis and mesothelioma. Campaigners highlight to employers the importance of following strict health and safety procedures and providing adequate protective equipment to workers who may be at risk.

The link between exposure to certain dusts, gases, fumes and vapours in the workplace and serious, long-term lung damage, has been well documented. Exposure to asbestos in particular, without the necessary protective equipment, continues to be a significant factor in many cases, with symptoms often presenting decades after exposure.

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), asbestos kills around 5,000 workers every year.

Ian McFall, head of asbestos litigation at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “Lung Cancer Awareness Month is a poignant reminder of the devastating effects asbestos and other work place hazards can have on the health of workers and the need for properly funded research into the disease.

“Thompsons brought the first successful case for asbestos-related disease to the House of Lords in 1972 and, since then, has fought tirelessly to bring negligent employers and their insurers to account.

“We are proud to support this initiative and hope that employers across the UK listen to the strong message being sent out about the importance of treating worker protection as a top priority.”

Asbestos disease diagnosis? Talk to us for advice and support on how to secure compensation.

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, we can support you with advice on how to make a claim.

The process will be explained in plain English and with no obligation – our priority is to provide you with the best, expert advice on whether you have a valid case for compensation, and to signpost you to further sources of support.

There are strict time limits applied to making a claim – usually three years from the date of diagnosis. It doesn’t matter if the exposure to asbestos took place – as it often does – decades ago, the three year time limit applies to the date of knowledge of diagnosis or date of death.

For further information, visit our How to Make A Compensation Claim page.