The Big Check Up

Look who's joining the Big Check Up!

An Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has answered the Marie Keating Foundation’s call and joined the Big Check Up campaign to highlight the warning signs of lung cancer, particularly a persistent cough. An Tánaiste has recorded a video to encourage anyone with a persistent cough to get it checked. Ultimately, the campaign aims to save lives and detect lung cancer as early as possible.


An Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said, “I want us all to do the Big Check Up. It’s about catching lung cancer out. If you have a persistent cough, that’s been going on for more than three weeks, you need to get it checked and call your GP.”

His video call with Neale Richmond T.D., gives a glimpse at a more light-hearted side to their friendship, in keeping with the tone of the campaign which uses humour to communicate a serious message. The call shows the two men discussing the warning signs of lung cancer and whether Neale might actually get to meet Ronan Keating.

We’re encouraging everyone to join The Big Check Up; Check in with loved ones when you are online, know the signs and symptoms of lung cancer and don’t let it hide behind COVID-19 or Flu this winter

Broadcaster and writer Maia Dunphy checks-in with her Mum and is asking us all to get involved to help catch lung cancer out


Other familiar faces also joined the Big Check Up and created personal videos to encourage anyone concerned about a cough to speak to their GP. Gogglebox twin, and Cavan native, Neal zoomed in on his brother Fergal to encourage anyone over 50 with a persistent cough to get it checked and Broadcaster Mark Cagney received a call from his daughter Mary who shared some advice regarding the sneaky nature of a cough associated with lung cancer, which can hide behind other coughs, including flu and COVID-19.



Lung cancer is Ireland's biggest cancer killer, but only when it's caught too late.

Early detection will improve survival. That’s why we have launched the world’s first cough checker phone-line to help catch lung cancer out, raise awareness of early signs & symptoms and encourage the public to call their GP if they have concerns.

Call 1800 – COUGHS, that’s 1800 – 268 447, to have the confidence to call your GP.

 We are encouraging Ireland to understand how they can reduce their risk of lung cancer and to know its early signs & symptoms:




“We want everyone to understand how important it is to speak to a GP if concerned about a constant cough, appetite loss, unexplained weight loss or you find you are easily breathless or really tired, and to have the confidence to get checked. GP referrals to the lung cancer rapid access clinics are down by 9% compared to last year4 which is very worrying. We know people are cocooning or isolating from others at the moment, so they may be unsure about contacting their GP. However, GPs are here to help and no matter what type of cough it is, the earlier it is diagnosed the better the outcome.” Dr Una Kennedy, GP Advisor to the National Cancer Control Programme





I am a survivor of lung cancer because I went to see my GP when I noticed changes in my body, including a persistent cough that I just couldn’t shake.  After my diagnosis in 2015, I had my right lung removed and I am thankful to say I am doing well today. If I had delayed getting help my story could be very different.  Don’t let lung cancer hide behind any old cough, early detection matters – get it checked by phoning your GP today” Michael Byrne, Lung Cancer Survivor 

         You can read Michael’s full story here:



Information & Support:


To learn more about lung cancer, click here.

Download our new lung cancer booklet here.

Download a short leaflet on lung cancer here.

Lung cancer infographic available here.

Read about stories of lung cancer survival & loss and our previous campaigns I Am Lung Cancer and Making Moments Matter.

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