STILL HERE, the 2020 LCAM campaign by Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, challenges the shadow of Covid-19

Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation launched its LCAM activity early this year. In September, in fact. The reason for expanding the LCAM campaign was simple: in the UK, as in so many other parts of the world, lung cancer, its signs and symptoms, and routes to detection, had all fallen under the long shadow of the pandemic.

As a recent report by the UK Lung Cancer Coalition made clear, the impact of Covid-19 on lung oncology in the UK has been devastating.

The number of people urgently referred to a lung cancer specialist dropped by 75% during the first UK lockdown phase of the crisis.

The report adds that the impact of Covid-19 “spans across the entire lung cancer care pathway”, including screening, diagnostics, treatment, palliative care and research, and estimates that there may be an additional 1,372 lung cancer deaths within five years of diagnosis due to the pandemic.

In response, the STILL HERE campaign sought to make clear that:

  • a cough is not always related to Covid-19
  • the National Health Service is STILL HERE for ALL patients who need it – including those with concerns about signs and symptoms that might indicate lung cancer
  • the charity is STILL HERE to help support and inform all those affected by lung cancer

At launch, the message was:

Lung cancer is still here and it won’t wait for the pandemic to be over. We need to bring lung cancer out of the shadows. We need to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms. We need people to act quickly and feel reassured to contact their doctor. We need to save lives.

The Still Here campaign aims to bring lung cancer out of the shadows. It raises awareness of the potential signs and symptoms, reminding us all that a cough does not just mean Covid-19. It also encourages and reassures those with symptoms to contact their GP – even during a lockdown.

Raising awareness of lung cancer is not easy. It is not something people like to talk, or even think, about, so we need to find new and unique ways to present lung cancer.

As part of the Still Here campaign, the charity teamed up with Attraction, a ‘shadow theatre’ company who won the ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ television competition in 2013, Attraction created a bespoke performance, to illustrate bringing lung cancer out of the shadows and demonstrate the importance of recognising lung cancer symptoms and acting on them.

The charity hopes that, by showcasing lung cancer in this unique way, people will watch the emotive performance and absorb its vital message. You can view the video here.