Sir Alex says early detection
can lead to ‘extra time’

Sir Alex Ferguson.
Sir Alex Ferguson.

A campaign starring football legend Sir Alex Ferguson has been launched to help increase the early detection of lung cancer in Tayside.

The distinguished manager is fronting a bold TV campaign that aims to build belief that lung cancer can be treated if detected earlier as he talks about how early detection of lung cancer can give you ‘extra time’ to spend with your family.

He also stresses that, although he lost both parents to the disease, lung cancer is much more treatable these days, and people do survive it.

Lung cancer is the most common cancer in Scotland, with around 5,000 people diagnosed with the disease each year. In the five years between 2005 and 2009, there were 1816 incidences of lung cancer in the Tayside NHS board area.

Health Secretary Alex Neil said: “Lung cancer is the most common cancer in Scotland, and this new advert encourages people to get checked early if they have a persistent or cough that has changed or any concerns.

“Lung cancer is much more treatable than it used to be. The earlier lung cancer is detected the easier it is to treat and the better the chance of a successful outcome.

“More lives can be saved in Scotland through earlier detection. It is great to have such a recognisable face to front the campaign, and I’m sure Sir Alex Ferguson’s story will help to encourage people to get themselves checked early.

“This advert is part of our £30 million Detect Cancer Early programme, which is initially focusing on breast, bowel and lung cancer, and aims to increase the early detection of cancer by 25 per cent by the end of 2015.”

Sir Alex Ferguson is backing the campaign as he lost both parents, who were in their sixties, to the disease. His father Alexander died in 1979, while his mother Elizabeth passed away in 1986.

He said: “I wanted to be involved in this campaign as I lost both my parents to lung cancer. I know the devastating impact cancer can have on families.

“But cancer’s not what it used to be and there are now treatments that can save or extend your life. So rather than doing nothing about it, I urge anyone who is worried to get checked as early as they can.”

The drive comes on the back of the Scottish Government’s widely successful breast cancer campaign, featuring Elaine C Smith, and bowel cancer advert, which was voiced by Still Game star Ford Kiernan.

Lorraine Dallas, Director of Information & Support, Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, said: “If you are not detected early, your chances of surviving lung cancer in Scotland are, sadly, very poor. Sixty per cent of people are diagnosed when the disease is so advanced that there are few treatment options left available.

“This is why the Detect Cancer Early campaign is so important because the earlier people are diagnosed, the more chance they have of surviving.”

Dr James Cant, Head of the British Lung Foundation in Scotland, said: “Lung cancer is a disease which can develop slowly over a number of years. Often it causes no pain so it’s important to be aware of other warning signs and
act quickly to have them checked. 

“A persistent cough or coughing up blood could be symptoms of lung cancer or another lung condition. If you experience any of these symptoms contact your GP.  Whatever you do, don’t ignore them – Don’t Get Scared, Get Checked.”