Cancer campaign urges cough vigilance

A health media campaign says a lingering cough could be a sign of something more serious. (AAP)

Lung Foundation Australia is warning people with a persistent cough not to brush off what it says could be the warning signs of lung cancer.

The advocacy group and charity launched a campaign on Wednesday urging anyone with a cough that lasts for at least three weeks to visit their GP for a check-up.

"This is critical if other symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath or chest discomfort are also present, even if they are mild," the group said.

Lung Foundation Australia CEO Mark Brooke said early investigation by a health professional was key to improving survival rates.

"This is particularly important if you have any risk factors such as history of smoking, occupation exposure to asbestos, dust or chemicals, or if you are aged over 40," he said.

"We don't want any Australian self-diagnosing or dismissing potential symptoms of lung cancer".

Mr Brooke said the early warning signs were easy to miss when it came to lung cancer or lung disease which could affect anyone, irrespective of lifestyle choices.

"For the vast majority of us, a new cough will not be a cause for concern," Lung Foundation Australia chair Professor Christine Jenkins said.

"For some, however, a lingering cough could be a sign of something more serious, such as a lung disease or lung cancer".

The "What if your cough isn't just a cough?" campaign will air radio spots and appear on social media for the next four weeks.

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