Diagnosed with lung cancer in Canada? Don't expect sympathy!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017 Cancer News
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TORONTO, Nov. 8, 2017 /CNW/ - Most Canadians aren't sure they feel sympathy for people with lung cancer, another signal that

the country's most deadly cancer continues to be misunderstood. This is one of the highlights as part of this year's Lung Cancer Awareness Month activities and the launch of the fourth annual Faces of Lung Cancer Report released today, by Lung
Cancer Canada.

In a recent international survey, 1 in 5 Canadians said they have less sympathy for people with lung cancer than people with other types of cancer. What is even more troubling is that the number of people who believe lung cancer patients deserved sympathy actually dropped from 61% in 2010 to 53% in 2017. The study, commissioned by the Global Lung Cancer Coalition (GLCC), surveyed people in 25 countries to better understand attitudes towards lung cancer and levels of symptom awareness among the public.

"We are deeply concerned that patients facing Canada's number one cancer killer do not receive the empathy and support they deserve," says Dr. Paul Wheatley-Price, President of Lung Cancer Canada, and Medical Oncologist at the Ottawa Hospital. "While there are certain grounds for optimism in new treatments, we continue to fail patients on empathy and access."

Lung cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Canada (excluding non-melanoma skin cancers), and is the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women. The Canadian Cancer Society estimates that in 2017 28,600 Canadians will be diagnosed with lung cancer, and 21,200 will die from it—more deaths than from breast, prostate and colon cancers combined. Although smoking causes most lung cancers, about half of patients who are diagnosed have either never smoked (15%) or are former smokers (35%).

Kayla Bradford is one of those Canadians breaking the stereotype. The 26-year-old new mother, who has never smoked, was diagnosed in 2017, just after the birth of her son. She is making positive progress in this unexpected chapter in her life and has turned her diagnosis into a mission to help others affected by the disease.

"I really had to focus on the support from my family and friends and I tried not to pay attention to the ever-present stigma that those with lung cancer, including myself, experience on a daily basis," says Kayla Bradford. "How could anyone look at my family and me and not have empathy? When someone has lung cancer they need all of the support and energy, anything else is intolerable."

Making things even more difficult for people with lung cancer in Canada are delays in accessing new and innovative treatment approaches. The Faces of Lung Cancer Report chronicles the access challenges and demonstrates how an outdated infrastructure of regulatory approvals and provincial reimbursement processes are unequipped to manage the rapid speed of science innovation, which is a key contributor to high mortality rates across the country.

"As science brings us new and effective treatments at rapid speeds, delays in access are leaving patients waiting to die," said Dr. Wheatley-Price. "This is a situation that requires everyone's attention and there is no time to wait."

This is the 4th edition of the Faces of Lung Cancer report. It focuses on early intervention, empathy for patients, comprehensive screening, and access to new treatments.

For more information on lung cancer or a copy of the report, visit: www.lungcancercanada.ca.

Survey highlightsi 

  • Men are less sympathetic than women towards people with lung cancer
  • Canadians between the ages of 25-44 are the most sympathetic
  • 1 in 5 people (20%) in Canada agreed that they have less sympathy for people with lung cancer than other forms of cancer
  • Globally, approximately 1 in 5 (21%) people agreed that they have less sympathy for people with lung cancer than other forms of cancer. In the US, 27% agreed they have less sympathy for those with lung cancer.

_________________________________iGLCC 2017 Survey Results

About Lung Cancer Canada

Based in Toronto, Lung Cancer Canada (LCC) is Canada's only national charitable organization that is solely focused on lung cancer. Lung Cancer Canada serves as Canada's leading resource for lung cancer education, patient support, research, and advocacy. LCC's mission is three fold: 1) to increase public awareness of lung cancer, 2) to support and advocate for lung cancer patients and their families, 3) to provide educational resources to patients, family members, healthcare professionals, and the general public.

SOURCE Lung Cancer Canada

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