Giant lungs visit Warrington to help beat biggest cancer killer

A woman standing in front of a large pair of inflated lungs
A woman standing in front of a large pair of inflated lungs

NHS England and Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation have come together in Warrington to increase awareness of one of the region’s deadliest cancers to help ensure more people get diagnosed earlier and increase survival.

On Tuesday 7 November, the Let’s Talk Lung Cancer roadshow arrives at Golden Square Shopping Centre, Warrington with a six-foot pair of inflatable lungs to raise awareness of lung cancer symptoms, encourage people to contact their GP practice if they experience any symptoms and start much-needed conversations around the disease.

The event comes after a recent survey of over 2,000 adults in England found that just two in five respondents (41%) would visit their GP if they had a cough for three weeks or more, which could be a sign of lung cancer.

Half (50%) of respondents believe that lung cancer only affects a small amount of people, when in fact it is the third most common cancer and the leading cause of cancer deaths in Warrington.

Taking place throughout Lung Cancer Awareness Month, the Let’s Talk Lung Cancer roadshow will visit 10 stops across the country. 

Dr Chris Warburton, Medical Director for Cheshire and Merseyside Cancer Alliance said: “A life-saving diagnosis can begin with a simple conversation about symptoms, and the NHS is taking action to bring lung cancer symptoms – like a cough that lasts for more than three weeks or chest infections that keep coming back – to the forefront of people’s minds.

“The earlier we can detect cancer, the easier it can be to treat, so it’s incredibly important that people who are experiencing any signs of lung cancer come forward as soon as possible.

“If you have had a persistent cough for three weeks or more, feel aches or pains when breathing or coughing, or show any of the other symptoms of lung cancer, help us help you and contact your GP practice.”

The roadshow is aimed at improving local understanding and awareness of lung cancer, with residents able to learn about the potential symptoms and risks factors beyond smoking, as well as how to improve their general lung health and reduce their risk of the disease.

Those attending can also speak to trained community engagement teams and patient advocates who will encourage them to visit their GP to talk about suspected symptoms.

Chief executive of Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, Paula Chadwick, said: “It is staggering that half of those surveyed still do not know how prevalent lung cancer is in Warrington. We believe this stems from a reluctance to talk about lung cancer, and that is largely because of its links to smoking and associated stigma.

“That’s why these events are so important. They give us the opportunity to have one-on-one conversations with people who may not realise they are at risk, who may not recognise potential symptoms or may feel unable to act on them.

“If we can help one person in Warrington get diagnosed earlier when lung cancer can often be treated, then that is worth doing.”

People diagnosed with lung cancer at the earliest stage are nearly 20 times more likely to survive for five years than those whose cancer is caught late.

The main symptoms of lung cancer include a cough that doesn’t go away after three weeks, 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 and/or loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss.

The Let’s Talk Lung Cancer roadshow will be at Golden Square Shopping Centre on Tuesday 7 November between 10am and 4pm. Anyone concerned about symptoms or affected by lung cancer is urged to go down and chat with the team.