Look after your lungs

As we know, smoking is the major cause of lung cancer; that’s why our charity campaigned so hard to support the introduction of a ban on smoking in public places – including the workplace. It’s important that you look after your lungs.

Some occupations, like welding, have a higher risk of lung cancer

What fewer people may realise is that between 10 and 15% of people with lung cancer have never smoked, and as many as 28% of all cases of the disease may not be related to smoking at all.

This charity has always sought ways to promote better lung health, to prevent people from getting lung cancer, and to promote early detection of it.

This where our ‘Look After Your Lungs’ project comes in; we’re working closely with employers to help them protect the lung health of their staff: forward-thinking employers such as Seddon Construction Ltd.

Our deputy chief executive, Mike Grundy, and Melody Holt, our Community Engagement Manager, recently addressed apprentices at the firm’s headquarters in Bolton.

Mike and Mel also chatted with other staff over lunch, while our giant inflatable ‘Mega-Lungs’ and ‘Fear Your Fear’ virtual reality booth also helped illustrate their key messages.

We are always seeking new and innovative ways to help our staff to protect their health and wellbeing. We encourage and support them to be fit and healthy; we aim to help them enjoy long and productive careers in the construction industry. Looking after their lungs is part of that strategy.

Seddon Construction Ltd

Industrial settings can pose threats to lung health. Heavy plant or machinery may emit tiny particles of soot or carbon which can penetrate deep into the lungs, while exposure to dust or fumes can also cause damage. Over time, this could lead to lung cancer or other serious conditions.

Paul Nicholson is living with lung cancer

Paul Nicholson, of Newcastle upon Tyne, knows all about building sites – he spent 47 years driving tower cranes. In 2015 he was diagnosed with lung cancer; and to make matters worse, he was told it was inoperable.

Chemotherapy and radiotherapy, however, shrank the tumours. There were no signs that the cancer had spread, and surgeon Dr Dharmendra Agrawal said he could remove his cancer.

The operation was a success and Paul made a full recovery. He even returned to work, lifting huge loads high above the ground. He said, “I have regular check-ups now, and so far everything’s fine”.

Paul urges workers to follow safety guidelines to look after their lungs. The same message applies no matter where you work.

Our workshops offer something for everybody; sound advice on ways to protect yourself and information about early signs and symptoms of lung cancer. If you’ve any concerns, go to your GP. The earlier a problem is diagnosed, the better options there are for treatment.

Melody Holt, Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation

Like to know more about how to ‘Look After Your Lungs’? Call us or email melody.holt@roycastle.org