“The News” the short film about lung cancer

Marie Keating Foundation aims to change the conversation about lung cancer with the launch of Ireland’s first short film about lung cancer. 

  • Titled ‘The News’ and directed by Brian O’Malley it promises that it ‘might end better than you expect’ and is billed as ‘the short that could turn out to be feature length, thanks to early diagnosis’
  • The film was premiered today (Tuesday 9th Nov) at The Stella Theatre in Rathmines, Dublin to mark International Lung Cancer Awareness Month, and will show as part of the Dublin International Film Festival in February 2022.
  • The short film was launched for the Marie Keating Foundation’s ‘Big Check Up’ Lung Cancer Awareness Month campaign, encouraging anyone with a cough longer than 3 weeks to get checked by their Doctor.

November – As part of their ‘Big Check Up’ campaign for Lung Cancer Awareness Month taking place throughout the month of November, The Marie Keating Foundation has today premiered a new short-film, ‘The News’ during an event at the Stella Theatre, Dublin. The short film aims to shift the focus and highlight the good news about lung cancer, to encourage patients to get their symptoms checked earlier, especially a lingering cough.

Directed by Brian O’Malley, ‘The News’ tells the story of Colm, who receives a lung cancer diagnosis on his lunch break from work. Fearing the worst and following his diagnosis, Colm makes a phone call in haste, thinking he has nothing left to lose. In his case, he burns all bridges with his boss. However, Colm’s story takes an unexpected turn when his doctor tells him ‘The good news’ about his early diagnosis and highlights the positive news about lung cancer to him.

Brian O’Malley the well-known Irish Director, has a close connection to the cause, with his father recently finishing treatment for lung cancer.

The short-film premier was attended by a host of guests, including The Marie Keating Foundation, Lung Cancer Survivors, Director Brian O’Malley, Consultant Oncologist Dr. Jarushka Naidoo, and Eileen Grace, whose husband and well-known comedian, Brendan Grace was diagnosed with lung cancer shortly before his passing at age 68.

In Ireland, lung cancer is the leading cause of death with just 20% of people diagnosed with the disease surviving beyond five years, following a lung cancer diagnosis. However, the good news for patients is that many countries throughout Europe have improved the management of lung cancer through better risk reduction strategies, diagnosis and treatment.

The Marie Keating Foundation’s ‘Big Check Up’ campaign for Lung Cancer Awareness Month is aiming to raise awareness, level the playing field and help improve survival rates of lung cancer in Ireland over the next decade and has called for further clarity from the HSE and NCCP about how lung cancer will benefit from the recent €20 million budget allocation. The charity has also outlined seven key areas of focus for investment so that more ‘Good News’ about lung cancer will become a reality for patients in the years to come. The film will also be broadcast regionally by the Irish Men’s Sheds Association.

The short film will show at the Dublin International Film Festival which will run from February 23rd to March 6th 2022.

Speaking about the importance of Lung Cancer Awareness Month, Liz Yeates, CEO at Marie Keating Foundation said: “Our fifth annual lung cancer month campaign is a second iteration of The Big Check-Up, where we are encouraging people to be aware of lung cancer’s early warning signs and to act without delay if they are concerned by calling their GP. Our new short film, The News, has an unexpected ending and this year our message is to focus on the positive news of lung cancer as successive studies have shown that those most at risk are least likely to get checked, often because they fear ‘bad news’.

We understand that early diagnosis and better awareness is only one element that will lead to improved survival rates and so we are calling on the National Cancer Control Programme to clarify how lung cancer will benefit from the recent €20 million allocation in the budget and to consider investment in seven core areas that we believe if tackled will lead to improved lung cancer survival in Ireland”.

Film Director, Brian O’Malley, speaking about how difficult it was to watch his own Father go through his lung cancer treatment said: “Watching my Father recently go through his treatment for lung cancer was very difficult but that experience informed me regarding the importance of finding positivity within an experience that’s very difficult, regardless of the outcome. My father is an incredibly positive person who entered treatment with a smile on his face and has remained positive even when there were times he hadn’t the strength to walk. That’s not true of everyone, so I hope this film, telling a story of hope, is something that will be of comfort to people facing treatment, or already going through it.”

Supporting the campaign, Dr Jarushka Naidoo Consultant Oncologist at Beaumont RCSI Cancer Centre, Lung Cancer Chair for Cancer Trials Ireland and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Oncology at Johns Hopkins University said: “Despite being the biggest cancer killer of both men and women with cancer in Ireland, lung cancer is still not spoken about at the level it should be. Further, patients often are unaware of the symptoms or may not attend or visit a doctor with their symptoms, fearing the worst possible outcomes. Campaigns such as this one by the Marie Keating Foundation are essential to raise awareness amongst the public that lung cancer is treatable and new treatments are being discovered every day. They should be encouraged to attend medical practitioners earlier to ensure an earlier diagnosis.

There has been huge progress made in the treatment for lung cancer in recent years, and these advances have resulted in better survival rates, offering more hope for patients with lung cancer than ever before. We also know now with new testing methods, that there are many different types of lung cancer, that require different treatments. Despite this progress, lung cancer still does not get the attention required, and action is needed to ensure that patients benefit from these newer tests and treatments. The good news about lung cancer is an important campaign and if acted upon, hopefully we will be able to give more good news for more patients with lung cancer.”

Marie Keating Foundations lung cancer awareness month campaign is supported by AstraZeneca, Bristol Myers Squibb, MSD Ireland, and Roche.

You can find out more about lung cancer and watch the ‘The News’ by visiting www.mariekeating.ie/thenews .If you have a concern in relation to your health, speak with your local healthcare professional.