Lung Cancer Search & Rescue is a search engine optimised (SEO) campaign needed in a Covid-19 world now more than ever, providing Australians with answers to the 30 most Googled questions on lung cancer, and delivered by Australians living with lung cancer
- When Australians search online for information on lung cancer, too often they’re confronted with less than helpful information: Lung Cancer Search & Rescue seeks to change the narrative on lung cancer, by replacing the bleak and inaccurate, with empathetic, relatable, hopeful and action- orientated content, delivered via patients as part of a video series.
- New data shows a campaign like this is desperately needed as over a third of Australians are more anxious and fearful during Covid-19, and are turning to Dr Google more but coming up short:  A quarter of Aussies (24%) are using Google more during the pandemic for their health information, yet just one in 10 considers the information they are finding credible and trustworthy. 
- Lung Foundation Australia encourages all Australians seeking further information on lung cancer and lung disease to get in touch: The specialist SEO approach implemented for Lung Cancer Search & Rescue will capture the many questions and concerns currently circulating online, and redirect Australians back to those who can help.
SYDNEY, THURSDAY, 14 MAY 2020: Lung Foundation Australia is today launching a first-of-its-kind public health campaign – Lung Cancer Search & Rescue – a new online initiative which answers the top-ranking Google lung cancer search requests by replacing the often negative and bleak statistics, with voices of empathy, experience, relatability and hope. Australians living with lung cancer answering the top questions Australians want to know on lung cancer.
14 Australians living with lung cancer were involved in the development of Lung Cancer Search & Rescue, to ensure the information that Australians seek when they use Google is actually helpful. The answers Australians can expect to receive covers the diverse range of top-ranking Google questions of lung cancer. For example:
- Those searching for answers on survival will be met by Terri Byrne, from Townsville, who has been living with lung cancer for ten years, and who is able to deliver the honest facts (i.e. that lung cancer has a five-year survival rate of just 17%),  whilst also her sharing personal advice, and more reasons to be hopeful for the future.
- Those searching for answers on the stages of lung cancer with be met by Natasha Paul, a young mum who is currently living with stage IV lung cancer, who will offer advice on how to navigate the health system at each stage of lung cancer, and the differences between the stages.
- Those searching for answers on potential lung cancer targeted therapies will be met by Jenny Buckley, from Melbourne, who lives with stage IV lung cancer, and who has experience of navigating what can be a complex and overwhelming treatment environment, when first diagnosed, and when moving from one treatment to the next.
Whilst those living with lung cancer and other respiratory conditions may face a greater risk of complications as a result of Covid-19,  new Lung Foundation Australia data also released today reveals that all Australians are feeling more on edge and concerned for their health at this time. 
According to Professor Christine Jenkins AM, leading respiratory physician and Chairperson of Lung Foundation Australia, “Our research tells us that almost 70% of Australians feel either very worried, or somewhat worried for their own personal health as a result of Covid-19.  Yet when Australians turn to Google and other online information sources, over a third get lost in the information they are receiving and feel more overwhelmed.” 
“What is more, only 10% of Australians consider the health information they receive via Google and other online sources trustworthy, despite using it more often at present.” 
“It is clear, therefore, that we must do more to provide reliable evidence-based information and improve the ease with which Australians receive their health information online. Lung Cancer Search & Rescue has been developed in response to the feedback we have received from Australians living with lung cancer but our hope is, of course, that our approach may offer the necessary insights, and impetus for similar action across the many disease states we know may benefit,” Professor Jenkins continued.
Mark Brooke, Chief Executive Officer, Lung Foundation Australia, remarks that the current Covid-19 pandemic offers the timeliness to act now, but the issues the lung cancer community has historically faced, and has historically sought answers for, are deep-set.
“In these unprecedented times, where all Australians are feeling more than a little unsure, it is essential that we at Lung Foundation Australia be proactive in supporting those who face some of the gravest risks of Covid-19 – those Australians living with and impacted by lung cancer – and who are rightly fearful, anxious, and seeking further support and information at this time.”
“So whilst Covid-19 is a timely reminder of the need to think of new and more innovative ways of supporting Australians living with lung cancer, we know that these Australians have long-experienced misinformation online, and will continue to do so in the months and years ahead, long after the impact of Covid-19 subsides,” said Mr Brooke.
“People impacted by lung cancer are looking for accurate information and hope. That is why Lung Cancer Search & Rescue captures the many broad concerns and questions the lung cancer community has always had when it comes to prognosis, treatment, screening, stages and types of lung cancer, support services, as well as how they themselves can get involved in shining a light on lung cancer and the need for greater investment in treatment, research and support,” Mr Brooke continued.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in Australia, accounting for one in five cancer deaths, and the highest proportion of cancer burden in 2017.  It can affect anyone. Approximately one fifth (21%) of those living with lung cancer are life-long non-smokers. 
Approximately half of those living with lung cancer experience distress, anxiety and / or depression, and there remains insufficient support available for the majority.  To put this in perspective, approximately 12,740 Australians were newly diagnosed with lung cancer in 2018; nearly 35 a day, meaning 6,200 of these Australians are likely to develop anxiety and depression. 
The prevalence of anxiety and depression in lung cancer is also 29.6 per cent higher than the average of other major cancers. 
Lung Foundation Australia is here to help people living with lung disease and lung cancer to lead the best life they can by connecting them to information, support and care, linking them to life-changing clinical trials and supporting active participation in lung health research. For further information on Lung Cancer Search & Rescue, or to get in touch with Lung Foundation Australia, please visit: https://lungfoundation.com.au/lung-cancer-search-rescue/.
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This media release has been distributed by LIFE Agency on behalf of Lung Foundation Australia.
- Mike Lane, E: Mike@opragency.com.au, M: 0409 666 022
- Danielle Aami, E: Danielle@lungfoundation.com.au, M: 0421 157 860
- Lung Foundation Australia (2020). How Australians search for, and their perception of, online health information[Survey finding available on request].
- Lung Foundation Australia (2018) Making Lung Cancer A Fair Fight: A Blueprint for Reform [online] Available at: https://lungfoundation.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Information-paper-Making-Lung-Cancer-A-Fair-Fight-A- Blueprint-for-Reform-Oct2018.pdf. Last accessed: April 2020.
- Passaro,A, et al (2020) Testing for COVID-19 in lung cancer patients [online] Available here. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0923753420392930. Last accessed: April 2020
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2017. Cancer in Australia 2017. Cancer series no.101.Cat. no. CAN 100. Canberra: AIHW.