Campaigning to raise awareness of lung cancer

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The Welsh rugby team and ex Wales player Jonathan Davies OBE are helping to raise awareness of lung cancer. Each year in Wales, deaths from lung cancer account for over one fifth of all cancer deaths(1). As outcomes for lung cancer in Wales are very poor; it ranks 28 out of 29 European countries(2), the team agreed to help us, the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation and the Velindre Cancer Centre in Cardiff to highlight the problem.

The Mega Lungs Campaign

Lung cancer is one of the four most common cancers in Wales and the commonest cancer worldwide3. There were 2,370 new cases diagnosed in Wales during 2012, equivalent to around 45 cases each week, and accounting for 13 per cent of all new cancer cases(3).

We’re committed to highlighting the threat of lung cancer and seized the opportunity to focus on the importance of healthy lungs during the rugby world cup. Welsh players were photographed and filmed wearing x-ray lungs t-shirts to show the importance of healthy lungs. These activities raise awareness of the disease and also of the Mega Lungs roadshows which are touring Wales during September and October. The inflatable lungs, measuring 12 feet high and 15 feet wide, help demonstrate lung function whilst teaching members of the public about the signs and symptoms of lung cancer, a devastating disease for patients, their families and carers.

Boehringer Ingelheim really values its relationship with patient groups. Joint working is essential in order to educate patients, their families and carers. This is especially key for lung cancer where awareness compared to other cancers has historically been low. By working together with patient groups we can reach a wider audience than we could individually and this ensures our ongoing commitment to improving patient lives.

Signs and symptoms of lung cancer

Some of the common signs and symptoms of lung cancer are listed below(4)

  • If you are aged 40 or over and coughing up blood you must see your doctor straight away
  • If you are aged 40 or over with a persistent or recurrent chest infection you should see your doctor
  • If you are aged 40 or over and have 2 or more of the following unexplained symptoms, or if you have ever smoked and have 1 or more of the following unexplained symptoms you should go and see your doctor:
    • cough
    • fatigue
    • shortness of breath
    • chest pain
    • weight loss
    • appetite loss

Please contact your doctor if you are concerned about your health and get checked out as soon as possible as early detection and diagnosis is key and survival is better the earlier it is diagnosed3.

REFERENCES
1. Welsh cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit http://www.wcisu.wales.nhs.uk/mortality last accessed Last accessed September 2015
2. Lancet Oncology. Cancer survival in Europe 1999-2007 by country and age: results of EUROCARE-5-a population-based study. De Angelis R.; Sant M.; Coleman M.P.; Francisci S.; Baili P.; Pierannunzio D.; Trama A.; Visser O.; Brenner H.; Ardanaz E.; the EUROCARE-5 Working Group.; et al. Lancet Oncology 2014,15:23-34. http://www.eurocare.it/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=5YR6JEglZQY%3d&tabid=61 last accessed September 2015
3. Welsh cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit http://www.wcisu.wales.nhs.uk/lung-cancer-overview last accessed September 2015
4. NICE guidelines http://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/NG12/chapter/1-recommendations#lung-and-pleural-cancers Last accessed September 2015

Job code number: UK/ONC-151066i
Date of preparation: September 2015