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Leeanne Undy didn’t display any of symptoms of lung cancer you would describe as normal.

The Victorian grandmother had already been diagnosed with breast cancer and so she was given a lung check after suffering a blood clot.

It was then she was told she also had lung cancer, a disease which kills more Australians than any other form of cancer.

Leeanne Undy has lung cancer
Grandmother Leeanne Undy, left, has lung cancer. (Supplied)

It was unrelated to her breast cancer.

The 65-year old, who works as a teacher’s aid, said the discovery of a tumour in her right lung was devastating, but it did mean she could start some treatment sooner rather than later.

“Without the screening I wouldn’t have known,” she said.

“In one way I was lucky I was getting screened.”

Now Ms Undy is backing a plea from campaigners to roll out lung cancer screening to all Australians at risk.

Ahead of Tuesday’s Federal Budget campaigners are making a last-minute push to try and make Australia one of the first places in the world to launch a lung cancer screening program.

Leeanne Undy has lung cancer
Ms Undy is backing a plea from campaigners to roll out lung cancer screening to all Aussies at risk. (Supplied)

Not everybody who gets lung cancer is a smoker. Bu those that do smoke are largely targeted by the screening.

GPs would assess risk factors, with Australians aged between 55 and 75, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders aged from 50m sent for a CT scan to check their lungs.

It could start within the next three years.

The government pledged $6m last year to push the idea forward, but campaigners say politicians needs to commit more cash in Tuesday’s budget to actually make it happen.

Lung Foundation CEO Mark Brooke said the benefit of funding the scheme far outweighs the ongoing cost of treatment for people diagnosed.

“If the government doesn’t fund it then they are putting at risk 12,000 Australians,” he said.

“If we were talking about women’s violence or suicide in rural and remote communities, with numbers of saving 12,000 lives people would find the money tomorrow, but because lung cancer is bogged by stigma and mistaken beliefs that people bring it upon themselves, it has been a battle to get this in the budget.”

Ms Undy’s cancer is now incurable, but she is making the most of time with her three grandchildren.

She believes if lung screening had started years ago, many lives could have been saved.

“Those people could be here today sharing memories with good times and friends,” she said.

An Australian Government spokesperson said the $6.9m 2020 Lung Cancer Screening Enquiry, commissioned by the Minister for Health and led by Cancer Australia, recommended the establishment of a national lung cancer screening program targeting high-risk individuals.

“The potential program is also being examined by the independent Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC), who will provide advice to the Minister in the near future,” a spokesman, said.

Lung cancer or lung disease symptoms

Persistent or unexplained cough which lasts more than three weeks, or changes to an existing cough, breathlessness, coughing up blood, fatigue, weight loss, chest pain, voice hoarseness

Source: 9News

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