GP issues warning to smokers

Dr Ruben Karalasingham of the Entrance Medical Centre

A Central Coast GP has issued a warning about the possible long-term effects of smoking and urged smokers to be tested.

Dr Ruben Karalasingham of the Entrance Medical Centre said the Central Coast has the highest smoking rate in NSW.

“It also has the highest incidence of lung cancer in NSW,” he said.

“Due to smoking for over 30 years, people (can) develop chronic obstructive airways disease (COPD).

“There is a lot of undiagnosed COPD on the Central Coast.

“If they approach their GP, smokers can access spirometry and be diagnosed with this condition and treated with good inhalers (puffers) early.

“Visiting professor Richard Russel from the UK emphasised this to us at Terrigal on March 21.”

Karalasingham said early diagnosis and treatment can give good quality of life and reduce mortality from COPD.

“There is a new treatment called triple therapy,” he said.

He also warned that lung cancer can be hidden as the chest is a big cavity and symptoms from lung cancer may not show up early.

“So, if one has smoked over 30 years, they need to see their GP and be screened for lung cancer,” he said.