Shocking figures have revealed the death rate toll among lung cancer patients in Doncaster.
Statistics show deaths from the deadly disease run at 80 per cent of the total number of people registered with the illness - and a campaign is being launched to try to tackle the problem.
Figures released by public health bosses show a total of 282 cases of lung cancer in Doncaster in a year - and 219 deaths as a result of the disease registered in the same year.
Officials say survival rate for patients one year after diagnosis is 33.2 per cent in Doncaster compared to 30.5 per cent in England.
The survival rate for patients five years after diagnosis is 9.1 per cent in Doncaster compared to 8.6 per cent in England.
Rupert Suckling, Assistant Director Public Health, said: “Let’s be clear, out of all cancers, people with lung cancer have a lower chance of surviving. The majority of patients do not go and see their doctor until it is too late in many cases.
“The whole point of this campaign is to get people to their GP quicker so they can get treatment sooner and have a better chance of surviving. Doncaster has higher than the national English average for survival after one and five years and we do not differ significantly from the rest of Yorkshire and the Humber on the number of people with cancer and who die from it.”
Health bosses at Doncaster Council are now hoping to tackle the issue with the launch of a cancer awareness campaign.
Sue Levan, Paul Herrod and Barrie Scothern - all from Doncaster - have survived lung cancer and are backing the Cough, Cough campaign in a bid to help save lives. Anyone who has a cough that lasts over three weeks is urged to see a doctor.
Retired South Yorkshire Police sergeant Barrie, aged 75, of Tickhill, was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2006 purely by chance - after visiting hospital for an X-ray after falling from a ladder.
The X-ray showed he had no broken bones but the married grandfather-of-two was called in days later as a shadow had been found. The same year he underwent an operation to remove the cancer, chemotherapy and a blood transfusion.
Thankfully for Barrie, who is also diabetic, he was given the all-clear in 2011 but knows a lifelong cigarette and cigar habit didn’t help.
“I had smoked all my life apart from a brief break in the early 1970s,” he said.
“I know to my cost it can kill but I am one of the lucky ones.”
Sue Levan, 67, of Wheatley, was 47 when she was diagnosed with lung cancer.
She said: “It has been 20 years since my diagnosis and I am sure the early diagnosis saved me – I feel really lucky.
“Without treatment I would never have been able to watch my five grandchildren grow up, and there is so much I would never have seen.”
And Paul Herrod, 73, of Bentley, was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2008 after visiting his GP because of a persistent cough.
He said: “If anyone feels something is not quite right they should go and see their GP, I am well because I did.”
The Cough, Cough campaign will run until the end of November.