People Living With Lung Cancer Are Too Often Stigmatised Because Of Link To Smoking

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Lung cancer patients are likely to suffer significant stigma due to the disease's link to smoking, according to a survey published today.

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"You simply do not see this type of blame culture with any other disease"

Lung cancer patients are likely to suffer significant stigma due to the disease's link to smoking, according to a survey published today.

The research, which was carried out by Ipsos MORI on behalf of The Global Lung Cancer Coalition, investigated attitudes surrounding the disease, which is the biggest cancer killer worldwide.

Researchers found that between 10% and 29% of people in the countries surveyed admitted they felt less sympathetic towards lung cancer sufferers because of its known association with smoking cigarettes and other tobacco products.

The research, which surveyed over 16,000 people in 16 countries, also found some evidence that sympathy levels were influenced by rates of smoking in each country. 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. However, the pattern is not perfect, which suggests that other cultural or traditional factors also have an important role to play.

Dr Matthew Peters, chair of The Global Lung Cancer Coalition, which is made up of 26 non-government patient organisation across the globe, said: "This research supports what we have suspected for a long time; that lung cancer carries a noteworthy stigma.

"Although the majority of those questioned rejected the notion that they felt less sympathetic towards lung cancer sufferers because of its association with smoking, there was still a significant proportion who admitted they did stigmatise the disease.

"You simply do not see this type of blame culture with any other disease. Lung cancer is the biggest cancer killer in the world. There is no place for a culture of blame or shame that adversely affects individuals and contributes at a broader level to poor resourcing of the research necessary to allow people to live longer and better lives after a lung cancer diagnosis. No-one deserves lung cancer.”

The report found significant variation between countries in the proportion of adults who admit they have less sympathy for people with lung cancer - 10% in Argentina; around three in ten in Australia (29%) and Brazil (28%); 24% in Great Britain; 23% in Slovenia; 22% in Canada; 22% in America; 20% in Japan; 18% in The Netherlands; 17% in Norway, Bulgaria and Denmark; 16% in Italy, Sweden and Switzerland and 14% in Spain.

At least 1,000 interviews were conducted in each country, either face-to-face or by telephone (omnibus survey), in January/February/March 2010 (respondents in Bulgaria were interviewed a little later – in May 2010).

The survey was conducted across sixteen different countries, including: Argentina (adults aged 16-64, telephone); Australia (adults aged 18+, telephone); Brazil (adults aged 16+, face-to-face); Bulgaria (adults aged 15+, face-to-face); Canada (adults aged 18+, telephone); Great Britain (adults aged 15+, face-to-face); Italy (adults aged 15+ face-to-face); Japan (adults aged 20+, face-to-face); Norway (adults aged 15+, telephone); Spain (adults aged 15+ face-to-face); Denmark (adults aged 15+, telephone); Switzerland (adults aged 15+, telephone); Slovenia (adults aged 15+, face-to-face); Sweden (adults aged 15+, telephone); the Netherlands (adults aged 15+, telephone) and the USA (adults aged 18+, telephone).

Editors Notes:
For more information, or to request a full copy of the report (country specific reports are also available), please contact Emma Gunby on +44151 254 7210/+447505 834 356 or emma.gunby@roycastle.org. The report can also be downloaded from http://www.lungcancercoalition.org/ or http://www.ipsos-mori.com.

About The Global Lung Cancer Coalition(GLCC):
Created in 2001, the Global Lung Cancer Coalition (GLCC) is an international group of patient organisations 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. By serving as the international voice of lung cancer patients, the GLCC is committed to improving disease outcomes for all.

The GLCC is committed to increasing awareness and de-stigmatising the disease amongst patients, the medical community, policy makers, the general public and the media, by delivering highest quality information and programmes through its member groups, including treatment information.

The GLCC's mission focuses on four key areas:
. Placing lung cancer squarely on the global health agenda
. Lessening the stigma of lung cancer among patients, their families, their health care providers, policy makers, and the general public
. Empowering lung cancer patients and their loved ones to take a more active role in their care
. Effecting change in relevant legislative and regulatory policies to optimise treatment and care of lung cancer patients

The GLCC aims to accomplish its mission by ensuring that policy makers, medical professionals, the media, and the general public recognize the serious nature of lung cancer and the need for immediate action to meet patients' needs.
The strength of the Coalition rests in the commitment and influence of its members:

Member Organisations

Lung Cancer Patients Foundation                
Australian Lung Foundation                    
APOZ                        
Cancer Advocacy Coalition of Canada    
Canadian Lung Association                    
Lung Cancer Canada                            
Danish Lung Cancer Association                    
La Ligue Nationale contre le cancer                
German Cancer Society                    
Irish Cancer Society                        
ALCASE Italia                        
Cittadinanzattiva onlus                        
WALCE                            
West Japan Oncology Group                    
Longkanker Informatiecentrum            
Lungekreftforeningen                        
INSPIRE                        
Asociacion Espanola Contra el Cancer                
Lungenkrebs                
The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation                
British Lung Foundation                            
National Lung Cancer Partnership                    
Lung Cancer Alliance                        
CancerCare                        
Prevent Cancer Foundation                    

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Emma Gunby
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