B.C. Government Proclaims First Awareness Month for Rare, Fatal Lung Disease

VANCOUVER, Sept. 20, 2012 /CNW/ - In recognition of individuals in British Columbia effected by Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF), the new Minister of State for Seniors, the Honourable Ralph Sultan, presented the Canadian Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (CPFF) and the BC Lung Association with the government's proclamation to declare September 2012 the first "IPF Awareness Month" in the province.

"Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis is a rare and progressive lung disease that generally targets seniors and often goes undiagnosed," said Minister of State for Seniors Ralph Sultan. "Our government has declared September as Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Awareness Month and it is our hope to raise awareness among seniors about this deadly disease."

Studies suggest that 5,000 to 9,000 Canadians suffer from IPF, with an estimated 3,000 deaths each year. The disease is more common in men than women and is usually diagnosed between the ages of 40 and 80 years. In patients with IPF, the lung tissue becomes scarred and over time, as the scarring becomes thicker and more widespread, the lungs lose their ability to transfer oxygen into the bloodstream.  As a result, patients become short of breath and the brain and vital organs are deprived of the oxygen necessary for survival. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure and very limited treatment options for people with IPF.

"I sincerely thank the government of British Columbia for their outstanding effort in helping to increase awareness of IPF in this province," said Robert Davidson, president, Canadian Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation. "Proclaiming September as IPF Awareness Month in B.C. will greatly support our efforts to improve the quality of life, standards of care and outcomes for people battling this devastating disease."

IPF Awareness Month in Canada was established to increase awareness and understanding of the progressive, debilitating and life-limiting disease that has no known cause. Coinciding with the awareness month, a new patient survey, titled An Investigation into Patient Experiences with IPF, verifies the need for increased awareness around the disease. According to the survey, a lack of knowledge among patients, their caregivers and primary care providers hinders the diagnosis of the disease, access to specialized care and the availability of safe and effective treatment options.

"Anyone touched by idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis knows the need to raise awareness is urgent," said Scott McDonald, CEO of the BC Lung Association. "Living with this disease on a daily basis is a very frightening way to exist. Not only is there no cure, there is no proven treatment. We must increase public awareness. We need more research funding. We simply must do more."

About the CPFF

The Canadian Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (CPFF) is a registered foundation and not-for-profit charitable organization established to provide hope and support for people affected by pulmonary fibrosis. The CPFF aims to raise funds to finance research to better understand, develop treatment and find a cure for pulmonary fibrosis; raise public awareness about the fatal lung disease; and offer support to those affected by it.

About the BC Lung Association

The BC Lung Association is a non-profit and volunteer-based health charity with a mission to prevent lung disease, help people manage lung disease and promote lung health. Both the provincial and national offices of the Lung Association work together to help the one in five Canadians who have breathing problems.

For more information

SOURCE: BC Lung Association

For further information:

and to schedule an interview, please contact:

Katrina Van Bylandt 
BC Lung Association

Nic Canning
Cohn & Wolfe
416-924-5700 ext. 4058

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