Nationwide cancer-advice ad filmed in the Narrow Way


Busy shoppers ignoring a growing mound in a bustling high street is the visual metaphor behind a cancer-advice advert filmed in Hackney, now showing on TVs nationwide.

Charity Cancer Research UK spent 24 hours in the Narrow Way, one of the borough’s best-known high streets, to film the potentially lifesaving advert, called The Lump.

As the public go about their business, oblivious to the expanding growth, subtitles warn viewers against overlooking changes in their bodies. "It’s easy to ignore something, especially when we’re busy,” it reads. “But spotting cancer sooner could save your life.”

The crew filmed the disquieting ad in February, with permission from Hackney Council, building the expanding lump using special, fast-drying modelling clay.

The new campaign to raise awareness of early diagnosis and the importance of spotting cancer sooner runs throughout this month (November) and follows on from a successful pilot the charity ran in the north of England in March.

Abi Brown, Head of Health Campaigns at Cancer Research UK said: “Spotting cancer early could save thousands of lives every year, so we want to encourage people to be more body aware and to know they can turn to us for information and support.”

The charity said it decided to film in the Narrow Way, the multi-million pound rejuvenation of which the Council is currently consulting on, because it represented a busy, everyday UK high street, filled with a diverse demographic. 


Cllr Jonathan McShane, Cabinet Member for Health, Social Care and Culture, Hackney Council
We always think very carefully before allowing filming in the borough in order to balance the rights and needs of residents with the wishes of film crews.

We’re happy Hackney played its part in this thought-provoking advert and hope it will encourage people across the country to head to the doctors earlier should they notice any troubling changes in their bodies.

Hackney is an increasingly popular filming destination, and, as well as raising the profile of the borough, local residents often benefit directly, for example the Film Office has managed to secure £30,000 for the Youth Sports Fund; £8,000 for the Geffrye Community Centre; 250 free tickets to Dirty Dancing for children living in the Pembury Estate; and part-time work at the Secret Cinema for local people - among other things.
Cllr Jonathan McShane, Cabinet Member for Health, Social Care and Culture, Hackney Council

Here’s more information on the Cancer Research UK campaign.

The Council’s Film Office gave Cancer Research UK a reduced filming rate due its charitable status.