At Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, it is our mission to ensure everyone diagnosed with lung cancer can live well with the disease for as long as possible.
We will achieve this in numerous ways:
Commitment to early detection
For the past three decades, Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation has been the driving force behind lung cancer research, investing millions of pounds into the early detection of the disease. We have done this, and will continue to do this, because we know if lung cancer is caught early, curative treatment is possible.
Our ongoing commitment and innovation in this field has now paved the way for significant investment from NHS England to fund targeted lung health checks, an early intervention project designed to detect lung cancer before symptoms even appear.
It is our intention that targeted lung health checks provide further evidence to support the implementation of a national lung cancer screening programme and we are working alongside NHSE to ensure this happens.
This is a significant step forward in the early detection of lung cancer. However, there remain thousands of people who will not benefit from the current projects, or potentially a national lung cancer screening programme – either because of their postcode, their age or the fact that they have never smoked.
Lung cancer does not discriminate. It is a disease that can affect anyone and so we need to continue to develop better screening tools for everyone.
This is exactly what our researchers continue to work on right now. From blood test, to cheek swaps, these biomarkers are the long term future of early diagnosis in lung cancer and where our focus remains.
Access to life-lengthening treatment
Over the past few years, we have seen a significant advance in the treatments available for lung cancer, including late stage lung cancer. From targeted therapies to immune-oncology, more people with advanced lung cancer have more treatment options available to them.
But not only are there more treatments available, we are seeing the new treatments coming through are playing a major impact on the quality of a person’s life.
We are all aware of the side effects lung cancer treatments like chemotherapy can have on a person – from nausea to hair loss and extreme fatigue. Targeted therapies and immunotherapy often have much milder side effects, thus improving the quality of a person’s life. It means more people are living well with lung cancer for longer.
Our position on the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) mean we have an active role in for determining which new treatments are made available on the NHS in England and Wales and Scotland.
We are the patient representative for both NICE and SMC. We strongly consider how any new drug could impact on a patient’s quality of life, whilst remaining pragmatic and realistic in these challenging financial times by considering such factors as:
- Is it better than current treatment?
- Would it help more people?
- Does it provide a better quality of life?
Without us, that patient voice is not directly represented.
Supporting everyone affected
We provide a number of practical, financial and emotional support services for everyone affected by lung cancer. These include:
- Support groups
- Lung cancer information days
- Nurse-led helpline
- Online forum
- Information about treatments
- Practical information about living with lung cancer, including symptoms management.
Everyone’s experience with lung cancer is different. We ensure everyone is supported in a way that works for them and their diagnosis.
Whilst smoking is not the only cause of lung cancer, it remains accountable for the majority of lung cancer diagnoses. Therefore, helping people to stop smoking, or avoid starting in the first place, is an important part of what we do.
We have achieved this in a number of ways – from our vital FagEnds projects, to our innovative Cut Films programme which works with younger people, discouraging them from taking up the habit. Our online forum – Quit Support – means this support service is available 24/7.
Our Look after your Lung project is also a key initiative. Operating within high risk occupations, including those with exposure to asbestos, radon and silicon, we help employees reduce their risk of lung cancer and increase awareness of signs and symptoms of the disease.
Despite being the UK’s biggest cancer killer, there remains a real lack of awareness around the disease and its symptoms. As a result, there are many dangerous and unfair misconceptions and attitudes around the disease, including who it can affect.
The associated stigma of the disease also means people can be reluctant to talk openly about it, further contributing to the inaccuracies and lack of understanding.
Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation is not afraid to talk about lung cancer. In fact, we see it as our responsibility to ensure a spotlight remains on the disease and the people it affects.
Over recent years, our awareness campaigns have challenged the attitudes around lung cancer, confronted the fears around prognosis and death, and highlighted that it can affect anyone.
We will continue to be the voice of people living with lung cancer to raise awareness and, ultimately, save lives.