Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation launched its 2020 LCAM activity early – in September. The extended campaign aimed to highlight the fact that, in the UK, as in so many other parts of the world, lung cancer, its signs and symptoms, and routes to detection, had fallen under the shadow of the pandemic.

As the 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 added 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

The fundamental 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 aimed to bring lung cancer out of the shadows. It raised awareness of the potential signs and symptoms, and that a cough might not indicate solely for Covid-19. It also encouraged those with symptoms to contact their GP, even during a lockdown.

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 performance to illustrate bringing lung cancer out of the shadows and to demonstrate the importance of recognising its symptoms – and acting on them.

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