Actor George Peppard’s health woes in the lead up to his death
Lung cancer: Dr Amir describes the symptoms in February
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Born on October 1, 1928, in Detroit, Michigan, George Peppard began his trajectory into acting in 1948 after joining the Marines. Having studied method acting in New York, he made his Broadway debut in 1956. It wasn’t, however, until 1961 when directors took more notice of Peppard, thanks to his part in Breakfast At Tiffany’s as Paul Varjak.
From there, he starred in the likes of The Carpertbaggers (1964), The Blue Max (1966), and The Groundstar Conspiracy (1972).
Described as a “longtime heavy drinker and smoker” by the Los Angeles Times, Peppard eventually developed cancer.
More specifically, the ageing star had a tumour in his lung, which he got surgically removed in 1992.
The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) noted that “the risk of developing lung cancer increase[s] in proportion to the amount smoked”.
Moreover, “alcohol itself can directly cause damage to cells that can trigger cancer”.
A research collaboration between University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, Bangor University, and the University of Southampton noted how dangerous alcohol is.
They found that drinking one bottle of wine per week was equivalent to smoking 10 cigarettes weekly for women, and five for men.
Lung cancer symptoms
The NHS lists symptoms of lung cancer to be aware of:
- A cough that does not go away after three weeks
- A long-standing cough that gets worse
- Chest infections that keep coming back
- Coughing up blood
- An ache or pain when breathing or coughing
- Persistent breathlessness
- Persistent tiredness or lack of energy
- Loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss.
“There are usually no signs or symptoms of lung cancer in the early stages,” the NHS warns.
Luckily for Peppard, his surgery to remove the lung tumour was a success, and it encouraged him to quit smoking.
Two years later, however, Peppard was rushed off to hospital and died from complications of pneumonia.
He passed away at the age of 65 on May 8, 1994, at the UCLA Medical Center, California.
Pneumonia in old age
People over the age of 65 are especially at risk of health complications from pneumonia.
That’s why, in the UK, the elderly are encouraged to get the pneumococcal vaccine.
People who have underlying health conditions are also better off getting the jab.
Such conditions that put you at greater risk of health complications from pneumonia include:
- Heart, lung, liver, kidney or neurological conditions
- People who have weakened immune systems.
What is pneumonia?
The national health body explains: “Pneumonia is usually caused by a bacterial or viral infection.”
People can catch pneumonia from somebody else who is infected, or it can develop from a cold or flu infection.
Signs of pneumonia can include:
- A cough – you may cough up yellow or green mucus (phlegm)
- Shortness of breath
- A high temperature
- Chest pain
- An aching body
- Feeling very tired
- Loss of appetite
- Making wheezing noises when you breathe – babies may also make grunting noises
- Feeling confused – this is common in older people.
People who feel like their symptoms are worsening are encouraged to contact NHS 111.
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