Mega-lungs help spread the message about cancer killer

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WORKERS from the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation brought a giant pair of inflatable lungs to the region yesterday in a bid to raise awareness of the killer condition.

The 12ft-high “mega-lungs” which have been touring the country for Lung Cancer Awareness Month, were set up outside Poundland in Barnsley town centre to catch Christmas shoppers.

Staff from Barnsley’s mobile cancer information service and lung cancer nurse specialists from the town’s hospital were with the lungs to give out information on the signs and symptoms to look out for.

Katie Hopkins, Cancer Information Manager in Barnsley said: “Not many people know that having a cough for three weeks or more can be a sign of lung cancer, even though lung cancer is the biggest cancer killer.

“That is why awareness raising events like this are so important – the more people diagnosed earlier, the higher the chance of receiving treatment and the more lives that can be saved.”

The unique mega-lungs were devised by the Roy Castle Foundation as a way of demonstrating the damage smoking and passive smoking can cause and according to a spokesman “provid visitors with an interactive, educational experience about the respiratory system.”

Visitors in Barnsley yesterday were able to step inside the inflatbale lungs, learn about the various structures and normal lung functions, see examples of lung trauma and disease.

The foundation was first founded as the Lung Cancer Fund in 1990 by Professor Ray Donnelly, a thoracic surgeon working in Liverpool, to raise awareness of the problem of lung cancer.

In 1993 when entertainer Roy Castle was diagnosed with lung cancer. he agreed to give his name to a special appeal for the Lung Cancer Fund to raise £12m to build, equip and run a specialist centre.

He spent much of the last year of his life helping to raise millions of pounds for the appeal. He died in September 1994 and his contribution was recognised by changing the name of the charity to The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation.

The mega-lungs exhibit is available for bookings at health events and schools. For more details visit the foundation’s website at www.roycastle.org