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Cancer survivors join medical school to promote lung health


  •  People Hull programme led by Hull York Medical School and funded by Yorkshire Cancer Research
  • Check your lungs event: St Stephen’s Shopping Centre, Hull - Friday 5 July

Lung cancer survivors and local personalities are amongst those supporting a campaign that urges people in Hull not to ignore the signs that they might need a lung health check.

A series of short films that tell personal survivor stories as well as instructional films featuring radio presenters, comedian Lucy Beaumont and boxer Tommy Coyle are being released to coincide with the ‘Check Your Lungs’ campaign’s first community-facing event taking place at St Stephen’s Shopping Centre on Friday 5th July.

The event is part of the People Hull programme, led by Hull York Medical School and funded by Yorkshire Cancer Research, which will be visiting locations throughout the city over the coming months to help you understand the signs that someone you know might have an early sign of a lung health problem.

In one film, East Yorkshireman, Bernie Fleming, describes how his symptoms of lung cancer were first detected whilst out walking in the hills of North Yorkshire: “My partner Sarah said, your breathing’s not right, it sounds different, and I said well it would be; we’ve just climbed a hill. She said, ‘no it’s different to normal; I know when you are breathing heavily. It sounds strange’. A couple of days later I had a slight tickly cough and when I coughed, I had a tiny speck of blood. Not wanting to believe anything was wrong I just thought it was probably something or nothing.

“A couple of days later I had another cough and this time; three tiny specks of blood, so I thought this time that maybe its time to get it checked out.

“In the past, I would have not bothered the doctors, but I have known people who have cancer who’ve had blood and coughing things up, so I thought it was better to be safe than sorry. The doctor referred me to Castle Hill where I met the lung function specialist and we started out on the road to finding out that I’d got lung cancer.”

Mr Fleming, who has recently returned to work as a prison officer specialist facilitator of interventions at HM Prison Hull, has chosen to support the campaign as he believes it is important that people talk with others about their experiences with cancer. “Because of their support, there is no doubt that I’m a much stronger and positive person and I don’t know that I would be if I hadn’t talked as much as I did to a wide range of people.”

Also sharing her story is June Pitt, of Anlaby who appears alongside her 16 year-old grandson Luke in a film through which she describes how early detection of lung cancer meant that she was successfully treated and has now recovered.

Professor Una Macleod, the Dean of Hull York Medical School says: “It is about looking out for each other so if you or someone you know has any of the lung symptoms, please encourage them to see their doctor, call Access+ or go to a walk-in centre. We know that if we catch lung cancer or any of the serious lung diseases early, the chances of someone getting treatment and surviving are higher.”

Tommy Coyle will be there to open the first of series of community events outside of Tesco’s St Stephen’s at 12midday on Friday 5th July along with lung cancer survivors and representatives from Hull York Medical School and Yorkshire Cancer Research. 

The main symptoms indicating that someone might need a lung check include: a cough that doesn’t go away after three weeks, a long-standing cough that gets worse, coughing up blood, an ache or pain when breathing or coughing, loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss, persistent chest infections, breathlessness and tiredness or lack of energy.

For more information about symptoms and how to get a lung check, visit


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