Cancer Focus NI Backs Lung Cancer Awareness Month

Give up smoking for lung cancer awareness month... or better still, give it up altogether.

Give up smoking for lung cancer awareness month… or better still, give it up altogether.

Both of my parents died of lung cancer and it is something I have said on a number of occasions as I am totally opposed to smoking and the devastation it causes to people and their families.

So, I fully support Cancer Focus NI and any other charity that backs Lung Cancer Awareness Month.

Northern Ireland people are being asked to give up smoking as part of lung cancer awareness month in November.

Local charity Cancer Focus Northern Ireland is reminding people that smoking causes 25% of all cancer deaths in Northern Ireland and is our greatest cause of preventable ill health. 

Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers in Northern Ireland and is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths.

Between 2014 and 2018 an average of 1,313 local people were diagnosed with lung cancer and 1,023 died from the disease every year.

Nuala Ward (42) recently stopped smoking because she realised that it was affecting her health.

Nuala said: “I am very keen on keeping fit. I train at a prokick gym and the first lockdown I decided to do some 1:2:1 with my trainer. That’s when I realised smoking was causing big problems in my fitness,” she said.

“My trainer wanted me to do some running to improve my fitness and I’d never run before. I really struggled and found it tough with tightness and burning in my chest.

Nuala Ward (42), trying to stay fit and active and keep off smoking.

“I had to constantly stop for breath. That’s when I started to think about stopping to smoke. I set a date in my head, October 1.

“I also have an underactive thyroid which gives me some circulation problems and I don’t think smoking is helping. I’m hoping that I won’t be as troubled with chilblains this winter now that I’ve stopped,” she said.

“I have quit along with a group of other people. We had intended to go to a Cancer Focus NI stop smoking group at our local community centre but lockdown happened. 

“Cancer Focus NI then set up a Facebook support group which I joined so now we can all chat together online, keep each other motivated and pick up hints and tips. That is backed up with a weekly phone call from a Cancer Focus NI stop smoking specialist”.

Nuala added: “I don’t even remember lighting my first cigarette, I must have been 14 or 15. Everybody else was smoking. Until I stopped I was smoking slightly over 20 a day.

“I’ve given up a few times before but it is so easy to slide back into the habit, especially if you are feeling stressed.

“What helped me was changing my routine, so that I was doing something different when I would usually be reaching for a cigarette.

“For example, instead of a cup of tea and a cigarette first thing in the morning, I started with a shower and got dressed. I was nice and fresh and didn’t want to spoil that feeling with cigarette smoke.

“I’m using nicotine patches which help a lot and I also have an inhaler in my pocket, but I usually just play with it, giving my hands something to do.”

Cancer Focus NI stop smoking specialist Doreen Regan said: “Unfortunately, we have had to suspend our face-to-face clinics due to coronavirus.

“However, we are still offering support remotely by phone, video calls or via our private Facebook group where you can get tips, hints and information on how to stop smoking. To join just DM Cancer Focus NI on Facebook with your email address.

“Statistics show that you are four times more likely to quit if you have support, so please do get in touch.”

For more information about Cancer Focus NI’s stop smoking service visit: