Dr Chris discusses CT scans detecting lung cancer

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The year was 1995 when Doug McClure drew his last breath in his suburban home in Sherman Oaks, California. Residing in the affluent neighbourhood in the last leg of his life, McClure left behind his wife, Diane Furnberg, and two children, Tane and Valerie. A friend of his, Dennis Morga, stated that McClure died from lung cancer, as reported by The New York Times.

Having battled the disease for a long time, the tumour had spread, until his body couldn’t cope any more.

Lung cancer is preventable in up to 79 percent of cases, Cancer Research UK stated.

Smoking tobacco is the “biggest cause of lung cancer”, which includes breathing in secondhand smoke.

Additional risk factors include air pollution, diesel fumes, asbestos exposure, and a family history of the disease.

In the earliest of stages, lung cancer does not cause any outward symptoms, but a diagnosis as soon as you spot any symptoms improves the chance of survival.

Lung cancer symptoms:

  • Having a cough most of the time
  • Having a change in a cough you have had for a long time – it may sound different or be painful when you cough
  • 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.

“Many of the signs and symptoms can also be caused by other medical conditions,” Cancer Research UK noted.

“But finding lung cancer early can mean that it’s easier to treat.”

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This is because a tumour that is contained within the primary organ can be targeted.

Otherwise, cancer that has spread elsewhere in the body requires more treatment.

For McClure, lung cancer eventually killed him, but survival depends on many factors.

More than 55 percent of people who are diagnosed with stage one cancer will survive their cancer for five years or more.

This figure drops down to 35 percent for those who are diagnosed with stage two lung cancer.

And only 15 percent of people will survive lung cancer for five or more years if they have stage three lung cancer.

Survival drops down to just five percent for those diagnosed with stage four lung cancer.

In addition to the stage of cancer at diagnosis, survival also depends on a person’s general health and fitness.

“Doctors call this your performance status,” Cancer Research UK pointed out. “People with a higher score may have a poorer outlook.”

McClure couldn’t make any more motion pictures, but he will be remembered for the work he did do in Hollywood.

Classics include Maverick (1994), Beau Gets (1966), and The Land That Time Forgot (1974).

During his acting career, he achieved the Golden Boot Award in 1983, and has a star on the Walk of Fame that still exists today.

Doug McClure stars in Shenandoah, which is airing on Film4 at 11am on Thursday, October 6.

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