Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation has partnered with London-based comedian, John Ryan, to address the awkwardness experienced when talking about lung cancer, as part of its Follow my Lead campaign for lung cancer awareness month.
Using insights gathered from people living with lung cancer, the pairing have co-created an ironic and thought provoking poem to improve the conversations around lung cancer and reduce the social and emotional isolation those with the disease can encounter.
A regular on the UK comedian circuit, John Ryan specialises in using comedy to bring health issues front of mind to the British public.
I lost both parents to lung cancer so it’s a subject really close to my heart. It’s vital we treat people who have lung cancer as we would anyone else – they are no different. I really hope the Follow My Lead campaign helps improve conversations and helps make life a little easier for those living with lung cancer.
Paula Chadwick, chief executive of Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation explains more about why the charity decided to bring comedy into the campaign:
“You only need to read some of outrageous things people with lung cancer have had said to them to understand there is a real need for this campaign.
“You say the words lung cancer and instantly the mood turns and awkwardness fills the air. It is not something people feel comfortable talking about, nor it is something people want to talk about.
“But it so important that we talk more about lung cancer. Over 47,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer in the UK every year. It affects one in every 13 men and one in every 15 women, so we need to get better at talking about it and supporting the people affected.
“No one sets out to say something inappropriate or hurtful but it’s happening. This poem highlights this and the emotional impact cancer cliches or throwaway comments can have, as well as offer advice and practical tips about how we can change this.”