Western Plains App
Western Plains App
What's what out west!
Get it on the Apple StoreGet it on the Google Play Store
What's OnShop WestEat Drink StayYour Local MemberYour CouncilAdvertise NOWEducationEmergency ContactsPuzzles & GamesRadio
Western Plains App

It's starts with a simple cough, the big killer in our communities

Western Plains App

Luke Williams

05 July 2024, 3:40 AM

 It's starts with a simple cough, the big killer in our communities Image: NSW Cancer Council.

Western Plains residents are being asked to reconsider their tobacco habits for a “hard to treat and late diagnosed cancer” as new data reveals the toll lung conditions are having on the community. 

Lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) - sometimes referred to as emphysema or bronchitis - accounted for a heart-breaking 297 deaths in the Western Plains between 2018 and 2022.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data shows lung cancer and COPD combined made for the biggest cause of death in Coonamble (30), Narromine (41), Cobar (30), Bogan (22), Walgett (49) and Warrumbungle (66) during that four year period. 

Combined it was also the second highest cause of death in Bourke, Brewarrina and Gilgandra. 

The most common risk factor says Cancer Council NSW for both these conditions is no surprise - it’s smoking. 

Alecia Brooks from the Tobacco control unit at Cancer Council NSW told the Western Plains App that tobacco smoking is associated with 77% of lung cancers. 

“It's hard to treat and usually comes with a late diagnosis” she explained to the Western Plains App.  “And we know smoking rates are higher the further you go from a capital city.” 

Data from the ABS also shows much higher daily smoking prevalence among Australians living in inner regional areas (12.2%) and outer regional and remote areas (17.9%) in 2020-21, compared with those living in major cities (9.3%). 

Smoking remains the biggest contributor to 'killer coughs'.

“If you have consistent cough” she said “you need to seek medical advice” 

But the most important thing, Ms Brooks said was to look to ways to quit smoking - even if you just smoke occasionally. 

She suggests that sprays, medications and patches can be useful. 

“I guess smoking is often a very social activity,” she explained “But our research has found that the majority of people who quit smoking quit cold turkey, and in terms of motivation they often do it when they are wanting to be around longer for their family.”