Paul Newman’s deadly tumour is largely ‘preventable’, says charity

Dr Chris discusses CT scans detecting lung cancer

At the age of 83, Paul Newman – the Oscar award-winning star – died from lung cancer. The informative charity, Cancer Research UK says that up to 79 percent of lung cancer cases are “preventable”. People who smoke are putting themselves at the greatest risk of developing deadly tumours.

“Smoking tobacco is the biggest cause of lung cancer in the UK,” Cancer Research UK confirms.

There are, however, other risk factors for the deadly disease, such as:

  • Second-hand smoke
  • Exposure to asbestos
  • Exposure to silica
  • Exposure to radon gas
  • Exposure to diesel engine exhaust fumes
  • Air pollution
  • Previous lung disease
  • Family history of lung cancer
  • High doses of beta-carotene.

Expanding on some of these risk factors, around seven out of 10 lung cancer cases can be attributed to breathing in cigarette smoke – your own, or others.

As for asbestos, while the substance was banned in the UK in 1999, older constructions that require work could still have asbestos.

Silica is used in some construction and material industries, such as bricklaying and glass making.

And research has shown that 20mg or more of beta-carotene daily (from supplements) could increase the risk of lung cancer in those who smoke.

“It might also increase the risk in people who used to smoke,” Cancer Research UK added.

“Speak to your doctor or pharmacist if you smoke, or used to smoke, and are considering starting a high-dose beta-carotene supplement.”

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Paul Newman, who grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio, was a heavy smoker for decades.

While he did give up the unhealthy habit, ex-smokers are still at risk of lung cancer.

Most concerningly, there may not be signs of the tumour as it begins to develop in the lung.

Yet, if symptoms do appear, it’s strongly advised to visit your doctor as soon as possible.

Cancer Research UK pointed out the “most common” signs of lung cancer to be aware of.

Lung cancer symptoms 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.

“In the UK, the National Screening Committee recommends that people at high risk of lung cancer are invited to screening. This is called targeted lung cancer screening,” the charity says.

The new targeted screening programme is soon to be available for smokers and ex-smokers aged between 55 to 74.

It’s not yet known how often the lung screening will take place, but some people may have already been invited for screening.

The aim of the programme is to cover all areas of England from 2024 onwards.

Paul Newman starred in the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, which is showing on Saturday, April 8 on BBC Two at 2.40pm.

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