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Giant lungs to raise awareness of cancer

Friday, 11 July, 2014
Giant lungs to raise awareness of cancer

A pair of 12ft-high inflatable lungs are visiting North Tyneside General Hospital today (Wednesday 28 November) as part of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s Lung Cancer Awareness Day.

The walk-through lungs are being brought to the hospital by the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation to support Lung Cancer Awareness Month, which takes place throughout November.

The aim of the event is to raise awareness of the common signs and symptoms of the UK’s biggest cancer killer and improve early diagnosis of the disease which affects approximately 300 people each year throughout North Tyneside and Northumberland.

Leah Taylor, lead lung cancer nurse at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We were thrilled to host the giant lungs at North Tyneside General Hospital as part of Lung Cancer Awareness Month.

“Our Trust has one of the highest incidences of lung cancer nationally with our specialist teams diagnosing approximately 300 new patients each year throughout North Tyneside and Northumberland.

“Many people are unaware of the early signs and symptoms of lung cancer and as a result present to their GP or hospital when the cancer is at an advanced stage.  Early diagnosis of lung cancer is crucial for improving treatment options and increasing survival.”

The Northumbria Lung Cancer Service provides care to patients with suspected or diagnosed lung cancer at North Tyneside, Wansbeck and Hexham general hospitals. The service works as part of a team of health professionals consisting of specialist nurses and consultants.

Paula Chadwick, chief executive of the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, said: “We know that public awareness of symptoms of other cancers, such as a lump in your breast or testicles, is quite high.

“But far too few people know that having a cough for three weeks or more can be a sign of lung cancer, despite the fact it is the biggest cancer killer.

“That is why this campaign is so, so important. The earlier people are diagnosed, the more chance they can receive treatment and the more lives that can be saved.

“So if you love your lungs and there is something not quite right then please get it checked out.”

The giant lungs are part of the charity’s I Love My Lungs campaign this November, which is supported by a host of celebrities including double Olympic gold medallist Pete Reed, actress and presenter Lynda Bellingham, Dragon’s Den star Duncan Bannatyne, former Atomic Kitten singer Jenny Frost, actor Robert Powell and Heartbeat star Tricia Penrose.

The campaign was launched by the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation to raise awareness of the disease, which claims the lives of 35,000 people in the UK every year.

Pete said: “I love my lungs because I rely on them to excel in my sport, which is why I am supporting this campaign.

“Since I have been a patron of the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, I have discovered what a devastating disease lung cancer is but the important thing to stress is that early diagnosis saves lives.

 “So even though it’s winter and even if you’re a smoker, if you’ve had a bad cough for 2-3 weeks and you can’t get rid of it, make an appointment with your GP today.”

The main signs and symptoms of lung cancer are:

  • A cough that doesn’t go away after two or three weeks
  • Worsening or change to long standing cough
  • Repeated chest infections
  • Coughing up blood
  • Unexplained persistent breathlessness
  • Unexplained persistent tiredness
  • Unexplained persistent weight loss
  • Persistent chest and/or shoulder pain

The I Love My Lungs campaign was developed by The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation in partnership with Eli Lilly and Company Limited.