A new report by Lung Cancer Canada revealed that lung cancer is the most common and deadly type of cancer. Even as smoking rates have declined in the country, lung cancer is highly prevalent. It is increasing among young people who have never smoked.
"It has become a 'Canadian stereotype' that only people who smoke five packs a day get lung cancer," said Dr Natasha Leighl, an oncologist at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto.
‘The five-year survival rate for lung cancer is just 17%, which is the lowest among all major cancers.’
AdvertisementThe report found that diagnosis of lung cancer is often delayed, despite the fact that many Canadian hospitals already possess the diagnostic equipment. The findings prove that smoking tobacco is just one of the factors that cause lung cancer.
Leighl, president of Lung Cancer Canada, said, "We really need to focus on how to identify people with this cancer, who is at risk, treat them early and get that cure."
The report revealed that nearly 26,600 Canadians will be diagnosed with lung cancer, and 20,900 will die of it.
The five-year survival rate for lung cancer is 17 percent, which is the lowest among all major cancers. Survival rate for prostate cancer is 95 percent, 88 percent for breast cancer and 64 percent for colorectal cancer.
The CT and PET scanners, which are used to detect lung cancer, are either in short supply at Canadian hospitals, or under-utilized, or not used soon enough to assess patients, said the report.
"People say, 'They smoked, so they deserve it'. That thinking hasn't plagued other diseases, such as heart disease, the same way, despite the fact that it, too, has been linked to smoking," said Leighl.
"And because most lung cancer patients do not live long after diagnosis, there are fewer ambassadors to tell their personal stories, which has been such a powerful force in raising awareness and funding for diseases such as breast cancer. Rewriting the lung cancer narrative will require new research focused on the environmental and genetic factors that may cause the disease. Canadians need to understand that there is a changing face of lung cancer," said Leighl.