Leeds Rhinos Players Visit City’s Pioneering Lung Health Check Project

30 April 2019

Players from Leeds Rhinos rugby league club launched a renewed partnership with regional charity Yorkshire Cancer Research yesterday by visiting the Leeds Lung Health Check, a pioneering screening programme that has now checked more than 1,000 people for early signs of lung disease.

First team players Richie Myler, Wellington Albert and Tyler Dupree were given an exclusive tour of the screening unit by senior research nurse Suzanne Rogerson. 

They were joined by Lois Forsell, Women’s Club Captain, Sophie Robinson, Women's Team player, Leon Crick, Women’s Team Manager, Gary Hetherington, Chief Executive at Leeds Rhinos, Dan Busfield, Head of Partnerships and Development at Leeds Rhinos Foundation, and Rob Oates, Commercial Director at Leeds Rhinos.

Patients screened at the unit were also in attendance to talk about their experiences.

Patients who come for screening at the unit are also given lung function tests.

This event marked the third year of a continued partnership between Yorkshire Cancer Research, Leeds Rhinos and the Leeds Rhinos Foundation. The relationship began in March 2017 with the launch of a new cancer rehabilitation programme, Active Beyond Cancer, which has now helped 160 people in the Leeds area. 

The programme is available to patients at different stages of cancer treatment, offering free health and fitness coaching and advice to help them increase their physical activity and improve their confidence.

Since the 2018 season, Yorkshire Cancer Research has also been working with Leeds Rhinos to help get important health messages out to their fans. Through adverts around the stadium and in match day programmes, the charity’s ‘Rhino to Cancer’ campaign aims to encourage people to take part in the national screening programmes for breast, bowel and cervical cancer, see their GP if they notice any signs or symptoms and understand ways they can reduce their risk of cancer.

On Sunday, July 21, the charity will take over Emerald Headingley Stadium for the Rhinos fixture against Hull FC with a dedicated Sun Awareness campaign, distributing free sunscreen, wristbands that change colour in UV light and flyers with information on how to stay safe in the sun during the summer months. 

Later in the year, Leeds Rhinos Foundation will help the charity reach a younger audience by sharing healthy lifestyle advice through its schools programme. 

The Yorkshire Cancer Research logo is also featured on the kit for the 2019 Women’s Super League season and Women’s Team ambassadors will help share the charity’s messages.

The Leeds Lung Health Check is a multi-million pound project funded by Yorkshire Cancer Research and developed in partnership with Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, the University of Leeds and Leeds City Council. 

Over the next four years about 7,000 people across the city who smoke or used to smoke will take part in a special type of x-ray called a screening CT scan that can detect very early signs of lung cancer.

Members of the Leeds Rhinos Women's Team and First Team get a closer look at the mobile CT scanner.

Checks take place in a mobile unit based in supermarket car parks and shopping centres to make it more convenient for people to take part.

Joe Taylor, Partnerships Manager at Yorkshire Cancer Research, said: “We’re excited to re-launch our partnership with Leeds Rhinos and Leeds Rhinos Foundation by showing them one of the key initiatives their support is helping to fund. The Leeds Lung Health Check is saving lives in the city right now. We’re pleased that so many representatives from both the Club and the Foundation will be attending to find out more about this vital project.

“By working together, Yorkshire Cancer Research, the Leeds Rhinos and the Leeds Rhinos Foundation are improving the prevention and early diagnosis of cancer in Leeds and ensuring cancer patients receive much-needed support. We look forward to continuing the partnership during 2019.”

Dr Mat Callister, Consultant in Respiratory Medicine at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and project lead, added: “We are delighted that the Leeds Lung Health Check is being recognised by Leeds Rhinos and the wider Leeds community. The programme is proving a huge success in the city. The response from the public has been fantastic with our health check appointments fully booked in many locations. Most people attending are receiving the all-clear from their lung health check, and many have commented how reassuring the checks and results have been. 

“A small number of people are found to have serious lung disease including cancer, but most cases have been at an early curable stage and many patients have now been through treatments including surgery. Many of these people will have had their lives saved by their lung health check. Another 2,000 invitations are going out next week in East Leeds and we hope that as many people as possible continue to respond.”

Watch the video below for more info:




Nikki Brady, Senior PR Officer, Yorkshire Cancer Research. Tel: 01423 877228. Email: nikki@ycr.org.uk

Notes to Editors

  • Harrogate-based Yorkshire Cancer Research was founded in 1925 and is the largest independent regional cancer charity in England (Registered Charity 516898). We are not part of a national charity.
  • We are committed to reducing the devastating impact of cancer on the lives of people living in Yorkshire.
  • Our mission is to work in partnership, fund research and support initiatives that will help people in Yorkshire avoid, survive and cope with cancer.
  • Current statistics show that 583 people are diagnosed with cancer in Yorkshire every week. Incidence and mortality rates are higher than the England average due to social deprivation, post-industrialisation and lifestyle choices but also availability of healthcare services and difficulties accessing early diagnostics, clinical trials and the latest treatments.
  • We aim to:
    • Be the leading authority on cancer in Yorkshire, understanding the problems and priorities in the region and sharing knowledge with partners.
    • Raise awareness of cancer and how to prevent it by working in local communities, schools and colleges, sports clubs and with other health-related organisations.
    • Promote screening programmes and fund research that can improve the diagnosis of cancer so we can detect and treat it at the earliest opportunity.
    • Invest in innovative research projects at every stage of a cancer patient's journey.
  • For further information, please visit www.yorkshirecancerresearch.org.uk or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

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