1 in 5 Canadians are less sympathetic because of smoking link
MONTREAL, Aug. 17 /CNW Telbec/ - Canadian lung cancer patients are
likely to suffer significant stigma due to the disease's link to
smoking, a connection that may impact the care and treatment patients
receive. According to a 16-country survey carried out by Ipsos MORI on
behalf of The Global Lung Cancer Coalition, one in five Canadians admit
feeling less sympathetic towards lung cancer sufferers because of its
known association with smoking cigarettes and other tobacco products.i
"This study sheds light on how much work there still needs to be done in
the area of lung cancer," said Dominique Massie, Executive Director of
the Quebec Lung Association. "In Quebec, cancer is the leading cause of
death with lung cancer being the most fatal, as it is responsible for
one-third of cancer deaths. In addition to prevention, we need to work
to overcome the stigma of lung cancer to ensure that Quebecers can
benefit from early detection, that they have access the latest
treatments and that funds are put towards research so that one day, all
Quebecers diagnosed with lung cancer can be cured."
As the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide,ii the state
of lung cancer in Canada remains bleak compared with other major cancers.iii
In 2009, the prevalence of lung cancer in Canada at 23,400 was similar
to that of breast cancer (22,900), whereas lung cancer claimed the lives
of 20,500 Canadians compared with 5,400 from breast cancer.iii
On the provincial level, Quebec has the highest lung cancer death rates
in the country and lung cancer incidence and death rates continue to
rise among Quebec women.iv
"The mortality rate from lung cancer is horrific in this country and we
aren't seeing the improvement we should be seeing, given all we know now
about this disease today," said Dr. Pierre Major, Vice Chair of the
Cancer Advocacy Coalition of Canada (CACC), which is a member of The
Global Lung Cancer Coalition. "In fact, the 10-year survival rate in
Canada is four times higher for breast cancer than lung cancer.
Interestingly, the rate of investment into research for lung cancer is
four times lower than that for breast cancer."
Through this study, The Global Lung Cancer Coalition concluded that the
stigma highlighted in this research has contributed, at a broader level,
to the poor resourcing of research and treatments that are necessary to
allow people to live longer and better lives, after a lung cancer
"In Quebec, the difficult situation already facing lung cancer patients
and their families is compounded by very limited access to the
treatments patients need to survive," said Dominique Massie. "In Quebec,
it's been over 4 years since the government approved a new lung cancer
treatment for reimbursement, with the last approval dating back to
February 2006. We see this as another way that stigma towards lung
cancer is hurting Quebecers."
Although smoking causes most lung cancers, as many as 15 per cent of
patients are life-long non-smokers, and 35 per cent of patients
diagnosed with lung cancer have quit before the time of diagnosis.v
Nevertheless, lung cancer patients feel particularly stigmatized because
the disease is so strongly associated with smoking, often causing
self-blame, guilt and shame, which can contribute to depression or
anxiety, affecting quality of life and possibly increased morbidity.v
The research also found some evidence that sympathy levels were
influenced by rates of smoking in each country.ii Generally,
people in countries with lower rates of smoking had a greater tendency
to admit that they felt less sympathetic to people with lung cancer,
compared with other types of cancer.ii However, the pattern
is not perfect, which suggests that other cultural or traditional
factors also have an important role to play.ii
The research surveyed 16,000 people in 16 different countries, including
Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Great Britain, Italy,
Japan, Norway, Spain, Denmark, Switzerland, Slovenia, Sweden, The
Netherlands, and the USA. The same questions were asked in each country
to allow comparison between countries.ii The full report can
be downloaded from the Global Lung Cancer Coalition's website at www.lungcancercoalition.org.
About the Global Lung Cancer Coalition
Created in 2001, the Global Lung Cancer Coalition (GLCC) is an
international group of patient organizations dedicated to supporting the
needs of lung cancer patients. The GLCC is also the first truly
international patient alliance to promote global understanding of the
burden of lung cancer and the rights of patients to effective early
detection, better treatment and supportive care. The Canadian member
organizations of the GLCC are the Cancer Advocacy Coalition of Canada (www.canceradvocacy.ca),
The Canadian Lung Association (www.lung.ca)
and Lung Cancer Canada (www.lungcancercanada.ca).
About the Cancer Advocacy Coalition of Canada
The Cancer Advocacy Coalition of Canada (CACC) is a registered,
non-profit cancer group dedicated to citizen advocacy. The CACC operates
on unrestricted grants based on guidelines that ensure the
organization's autonomy. For more information, visit the CACC's website
About the Quebec Lung Association
Founded in 1938, the Quebec Lung Association is the only non-profit
organization that promotes respiratory health and prevention of
pulmonary disease through research, education and services. The
Association helps and defends the rights of individuals who suffer from
a pulmonary disease as well as the Quebec population as a whole.
About Lung Cancer Canada
Established in 2002, Lung Cancer Canada remains the only organization in
the country that is sole dedicated to the support and education of those
affected by lung cancer and their families, and to raising awareness
about lung cancer nationwide.
Our mission is to increase awareness about lung cancer, support patients
living with lung cancer and the individuals who care for them and
provide educational resources to lung cancer patients, their family
members and health care professionals.
About The Canadian Lung Association
Established in 1900, The Canadian Lung Association is one of Canada's
oldest and most respected health charities, and the leading national
organization for science-based information, research, education, support
programs, and advocacy on lung health issues.
i Global Lung Cancer Coalition. Perceptions of lung cancer
in Canada: An Ipsos MORI report for the Global Lung Cancer Coalition.
ii Global Lung Cancer Coalition. Global
perceptions of lung cancer: An Ipsos MORI report for the Global Lung
Cancer Coalition. 2010.
iii Canadian Cancer Society's
Steering Committee: Canadian Cancer Statistics 2009. Toronto: Canadian
Cancer Society. 2009.
iv Canadian Cancer Society. Quebec
statistics. Available at: http://www.cancer.ca/Quebec/About%20cancer/Cancer%20statistics/Cancer%20statistics%20in%20Quebec.aspx?sc_lang=en.
on August 10, 2010.
v Lung Cancer Canada. Did You Know?
Available at: http://www.lungcancercanada.ca/Education/Did_you_know/General_statistics.html.
Accessed on July 5, 2010.
SOURCE QUEBEC LUNG ASSOCIATION
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