Tackling a killer disease that claims more lives than prostate and breast cancer was the aim of a world awareness day this week.

Get your lungs tested was the message at Lister Hospital on Wednesday when health action group Breath Easy North Herts (BENH) joined a British Lung Foundation campaign to draw attention to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

It is thought up to three million people might be unaware they have the disease, which causes a persistent cough, wheeziness and recurrent chest infection.

Chairman of BENH, Sue Churchman, said: “We want to encourage anyone showing any of these symptoms or who is concerned about their lung health, to visit their GP as COPD is a progressive, irreversible lung disease which if diagnosed early is easily treatable and manageable.”

She urged those affected to ask their doctor for a simple spirometry test which measures obstructions caused by a narrowing of the bronchial tubes.