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Study Finds People Living With Lung Cancer Are Too Often Stigmatized Because Of Link To Smoking

Washington, DC [July 13, 2010]Today, Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA) highlighted a study, carried out by Ipsos MORI on behalf of The Global Lung Cancer Coalition (GLCC).  The study finds lung cancer patients are likely to suffer significant stigma due to the disease’s link to smoking.

Over 16,000 people in 16 countries were asked questions about their attitudes surrounding lung cancer.  The study found some evidence that sympathy levels were influenced by the smoking rates of each country. Generally people in countries with lower smoking rates had a greater tendency to admit that they felt less sympathetic to people with lung cancer compared with other types of cancer.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States and worldwide.  This year it will take the lives of nearly twice as many women as breast cancer and three times as many men as prostate cancer.  At least two thirds of those diagnosed are former smokers or those who have never smoked.

“This study reinforces what the lung cancer community has felt for decades—public perception of this disease is overwhelmingly negative,” said Laurie Fenton Ambrose, LCA President & CEO.  “We must do more to overcome this pervasive stigma and focus attention where it should be—on research for early detection and treatment for lung cancer. Lung cancer patients deserve the same compassion and support given to those impacted by other diseases.”

The report found significant variation between countries. The range of responses of adults went from 10-29%, with the United States falling above average, and on a par with Canada at 22% expressing less sympathy for people with lung cancer than people with other kinds of cancer.    

To learn more about the survey, please contact Emma Gunby on +44151 254 7210/+447505 834 356 or emma.gunby@roycastle.org.  The report can also be downloaded from www.lungcancercoalition.org.   

The Global Lung Cancer Coalition, www.lungcancercoalition.org, is an international group of 26 patient organizations dedicated to supporting the needs of lung cancer patients.  It is 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.

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