We are encouraging the public to forget what they think they know about lung cancer, as part of our new awareness campaign which launches today. The campaign highlights the common misconceptions about lung cancer particularly that only smokers are at risk of developing the condition.  

The creative for the lung cancer awareness campaign, which has been developed by the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, aims to encourage people not to dismiss symptoms that could suggest a lung condition and speak to their GP,  regardless of their age or whether they smoke or not.

The campaign features real stories of people living in the UK who have been diagnosed with lung cancer, including 49-year-old Natasha who is a keen runner and doesn’t smoke.

Natasha said: “I didn’t think lung cancer was something that could ever happen to me - even when I developed a squeaky cough. We all kept coming back to the fact that I didn’t fit ‘the profile’. I am not who you expect to be a lung cancer patient. I was mountain biking and doing a lot of hiking. I rocked climbed and did yoga.

"I ate a predominately plant-based diet and was a non-smoker. Yet despite the fact I was low risk for all cancers - especially lung cancer - this did not stop me from eventually receiving that earth shattering diagnosis.”

Where can I see the campaign?

The campaign coincides with Lung Cancer Awareness Month and includes out of home advertising in gyms, on roadside billboards and in and around local tube and train stations across south east London.

The campaign will also feature paid advertising on Facebook, with regular updates about the campaign on SELCA and Roy Castle’s Facebook page.

Spike.png   Natasha.png 

Why are we launching the campaign in south east London?

Lung cancer is the biggest cause of cancer deaths in England and it can affect people of all ages.

Although the risk increases as you get older and from lifestyle choices such as smoking, younger people and those who don’t smoke can also develop the condition.

In south east London, the majority of lung cancers are diagnosed at a later stage but if we can detect the cancer early on, the treatment is more likely to be successful.

GP cancer lead for Bexley Dr Winnie Kwan, said: “Lung cancer does not discrimate and can affect anyone, regardless of their age, fitness level or smoking history.

“Whether you are a smoker or not, if you are presenting with symptoms that indicate lung cancer, then please contact your GP. Early testing means early treatment, which can save lives.”

Who is the campaign aimed at?

The campaign targets all men and women. It is important that we ensure people in this age group are aware of what symptoms they should be looking out for.

In addition to the symptom of a cough for three weeks or more lung cancer can also present the following symptoms:

  • 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
  • Shoulder pain

How can I support the campaign?

  • Follow us on Twitter and Facebook and retweeting and sharing our posts about the campaign across your social media accounts.
  • Share the link to this story across your newsletters and with individuals or groups that represent the target audience.
  • Share key messages, stats and suggested social media messaging as outlined in Roy Castle’s communications toolkit.
  • Print the campaign posters - in the communications toolkit - and share in GP waiting areas or pharmacies across your local borough.

Additonal information and resources

For patients

  • The Every breath support group holds regular virtual and face-to-face meetings to support those living on south London who are affected by lung cancer. To find out more about the support group and how to join a meeting, visit: https://everybreath.org.uk/
  • SELCA is rolling out the NHS Targeted Lung Health Check programme across parts of south east London. The programme offers residents who are aged 55 – 74 and registered as an ever smoker with their GP, a free lung health check to help detect lung cancer at an earlier stage, when it is easier to treat. To find out more about the checks and if you’re eligible, visit: https://www.sel-lunghealthcheck.nhs.uk/

For healthcare professionals

  • Lung cancer charities including the Ruth Strauss Foundation, EGFR Positive UK and ALK Positive have launched the latest phase of their See Through the Symptoms campaign. The campaign aims to raise awareness amongst GPs, pharmacists and physiotherapists, that people who have never smoked can get lung cancer too.
  • SELCA has developed a new online education resource to support primary care professionals to identify patients who require an urgent suspected cancer referral. The latest module on lung cancer is due to go live later this month.

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