February 14, 2017

National Cancer Report ignites appeal for lung cancer support

The Cancer in Australia 2017 Report released last week by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has revealed that lung cancer continues to claim more Australian lives each year than any other cancer. Lung Foundation Australia is calling on the community to help make lung cancer a government priority by signing their online petition at lungfoundation.com.au/advocacy/

Associate Professor Nick Pavlakis, lung cancer specialist and President of Australasian Lung Cancer Trials Group an initiative of Lung Foundation Australia, said the report confirms lung cancer causes more deaths than breast, prostate and ovarian cancer combined.

“Lung cancer is also common – it is estimated that almost 12,500 Australians will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year,” Professor Pavlakis said.

“While the report found the chances of surviving at least five years with lung cancer have increased slightly from 14.3% to 15.8%, it remains one of the lowest survival rates of any cancer. This highlights the need to increase investment in research to find ways to fight lung cancer.”

Lung Foundation Australia CEO Ms Heather Allan said the current investment in lung cancer research in Australia is woeful, particularly when we have seen survival rates for other cancers such as breast and prostate improve dramatically in the past 25 years through sustained investment in focused research1.

“It is our belief that widespread negative attitudes towards those with lung cancer are a significant barrier to improving outcomes,” Ms Allan said.

“Stigma in lung cancer is evident among healthcare professionals and the general public, as well as patients with lung cancer, and has significant individual and societal consequences1.

“In a global survey of attitudes towards people with lung cancer, Australians had the least sympathy of all of the 15 nationalities surveyed1.

“Patients with lung cancer delay seeking help or stop treatment early, or may not be referred for specialist management, and there is little public sympathy or support through volunteering, donations or advocacy for greater awareness and research funding of lung cancer1,” Ms Allan said.

“We are calling on the community to help make lung cancer a priority in Australia by signing the petition on our website, which will be presented to the government later in the year.”

Lung Foundation Australia is the only national charity dedicated to supporting anyone with a lung disease. We are a national first point-of-call for patients, their families, carers, health professionals and the general community. For more information or to sign the petition, visit lungfoundation.com.au/advocacy/

Reference:

  1. Lung Foundation Australia, Improving outcomes for Australians with lung cancer: A Call to Action (2016) http://lungfoundation.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/LFA-improving-outcomes-report-0816-proof10.pdf