12-foot inflatable lungs coming to Liverpool to get us talking about cancer

The NHS is touring England’s lung cancer hotspots with giant inflatable lungs and specialist teams of volunteers, in a bid to catch more cancers early and giving the best chance of successful treatment.

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The NHS’s lung cancer roadshow is coming to St John’s Shopping Centre on Thursday, to teach locals about the signs and symptoms of the disease.

Bringing along 12 foot-high lungs, specialist volunteers will be on hand to talk to members of the public, and encourage those with suspected symptoms to visit their GP as soon as possible.

The inflatable organs are large enough for visitors to step inside, allowing them to learn about typical lung structures, lung health and the effects of smoking.

Why is the roadshow coming to Liverpool?

A new survey showed that less than two thirds (57%) of the public recognised a cough for more than three weeks or as a possible symptom of lung cancer and almost a quarter of respondents (24%) said they would do nothing or wait if they had this symptom. Only half (55%) of those surveyed said they would contact their GP if they had a cough for three weeks or more, despite this being a key symptom of lung cancer.

Merseyside’s cancer rates are the second highest in the North-West and the region has extremely high rates of lung, trachea, and bronchus cancers, with rates at 59% higher than the national average.

26 areas will be visited by the Roy Castle Let’s Talk Cancer Roadshow with this week’s line up also including Crewe, Macclesfield and St Helens this week. as they too have significantly high rates of lung cancer.

What’s been said?

Paula Chadwick, chief executive of Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation said: “Lung cancer is a disease that no one wants to talk about, but it is vital that we do because these conversations can save lives.

“Being able to recognise the many different symptoms of lung cancer and taking immediate action can help people get diagnosed earlier when lung cancer is easier to treat.”

GP and TV Doctor Dr Chris George is supporting the campaign after his own mother was diagnosed with the condition. He said:

“The Let’s Talk Lung Cancer Roadshow is aiming to spark positive and reassuring conversations about lung cancer within communities. In particular, speaking as a GP, I cannot stress enough how important it is to contact your GP practice if you are experiencing a persistent cough for three weeks or more.

“Whilst it’s probably nothing serious, a cough for three weeks or more could be a sign of lung cancer and finding cancer earlier makes it more treatable. Your NHS is here and we want to see you.”

Main symptoms of lung cancer

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.