SCOTTISH businessman and Dragons’ Den star Duncan Bannatyne has backed a new campaign to raise awareness about lung cancer.
He will be joined by Olympic rower Pete Reed to front the drive to urge people to see their GPs if they think they have any signs of the illness.
The stars are calling on people who have had a cough for three weeks to be checked out by their GP.
Reed, who won gold at London 2012 in the men’s coxless four, the Olympian is reported to have the largest lung capacity ever recorded at 11.68 litres.
Images of Reed and Bannatyne will appear in hospitals, GP surgeries and pharmacies across the UK during November - Lung Cancer Awareness Month - as part of the initiative developed by the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation.
Other names that have been photographed displaying X-rays of a pair of lungs as part of the campaign include singer Jenny Frost, actresses Tricia Penrose, Lynda Bellingham and actor Robert Powell.
Reed said: “I love my lungs because I rely on them to excel in my sport, which is why I am supporting this campaign.
“Since I have been a patron of the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, I have discovered what a devastating disease lung cancer is but the important thing to stress is that early diagnosis saves lives.
“So even though it’s winter and even if you’re a smoker, if you’ve had a bad cough for 2-3 weeks and you can’t get rid of it, make an appointment with your GP today.”
Paula Chadwick, chief executive of the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, added: “We know that public awareness of symptoms of other cancers, such as a lump in your breast or testicles, is quite high.
“But far too few people know that having a cough for three weeks or more can be a sign of lung cancer, despite the fact it is the biggest cancer killer.
“That is why this campaign is so, so important. The earlier people are diagnosed, the more chance they can receive treatment and the more lives that can be saved.
“So if you love your lungs and there is something not quite right then please get it checked out.”
Around 3,500 people die from lung cancer every year in Scotland.