NO ONE IN THE WORLD DESERVES LUNG CANCER
Patient groups from around the globe demand increased spending and better patient access to treatments -
29 October 2004: Today, leading patient groups from around the world call for global support in the fight against one of the world's biggest killers
Each year ten million people are diagnosed with lung cancer.1 The outlook is alarming - 50% of patients will die within a year of diagnosis 2 and only 1 in 10 people go on to live longer than five years.3 The disease is just as prevalent in developed continents as in developing ones.4 Despite its devastating impact, funding of lung cancer research and care is still considerably less than other common cancers and other life threatening illnesses. However, lung cancer can be treated and is potentially curable if diagnosed early.5 Improved public understanding of lung cancer could lead to early diagnosis and save peoples' lives.
"As support groups we have to take action," explained Dr Jesme Baird, Director of Patient Care at the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation in the UK, " Despite the high levels of lung cancer globally, five-year survival rates are decreasing at an unacceptable rate. Health authorities and governments need to allocate sufficient funds to help tackle this disease at a local level to ensure earlier diagnosis, better patient outcomes and a broader range of treatment options.
Why should patients with this disease be deprived of hope? A diagnosis of lung cancer is devastating enough for patients and their families without the added pressure of lack of access to treatment and the stigma associated with the disease."
The GLCC's plea mirrors the concerns expressed by leading international lung cancer specialists. According to research carried out at the World Congress on Lung Cancer in 2003, more than 200 physicians from around the world warned that lung cancer receives inadequate funding and that people avoid seeing their doctor through fear of diagnosis. In addition, two-thirds of the survey respondents considered that removing the stigma would encourage people to seek help earlier.
Carolyn Aldige, President of the Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation in the US said: "Physicians agree with our view that there needs to be an increase in the level of awareness of lung cancer as well as an effort to ensure that treatment of the disease becomes a top priority. It is vital that specialists have the resources available to ensure patients receive the appropriate quality of care and the education they need for lung cancer prevention and early detection."
Dr Baird concluded, "Few lung cancer patients are able to fight for their rights and few have confidence that they will receive the support and treatment they need. Our goal is for Lung Cancer Awareness Month 2004 to raise the profile of lung cancer and mobilise authorities to ensure the provision of resources and support that can help fight such a devastating condition."
The Global Lung Cancer Coalition (GLCC) is the world's first international coalition of lung cancer patient organisations. The group established Lung Cancer Awareness Month to raise awareness worldwide about lung cancer, to educate people about the symptoms and to challenge the many misconceptions and stigmas that surround the disease. The theme of the 2004 awareness month is "No one in the world deserves lung cancer".
Notes for editors
The WCLC survey included 205 physicians who were chosen at random from delegates attending the World Congress on Lung Cancer, an estimated 10 per cent of the total attending. Physicians taking part in the survey came from 35 countries: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, UAE, UK, USA.
The survey was supported by an unrestricted educational grant from AstraZeneca.
For more information about the GLCC please visit the website: www.lungcancercoalition.org
Perin N, Global variation in cancer incidence and mortality, Current Science September 2001:81; 5
Ferlay, J. et al. GLOBOCAN 2000: Cancer Incidence, Mortality and Prevalence Worldwide IARC CancerBase No. 5. Version 1.0, IARCPress, Lyon, 2001
Strauss, GM. Lung Cancer Screening and Randomized Population Trials, International Conference on Prevention and Early Diagnosis of Lung Cancer, Varese, Italy Dec. 9, 10, 1998: 57-97.