Global polling

In 2017, the GLCC commissioned a new multi-national study to understand attitudes towards lung cancer and levels of symptom awareness among the public. 

Data was provided by a poll undertaken in 25 countries, and this report builds on previous studies we commissioned in 2010 and 2013. 

More details of the earlier polls can seen by scrolling down this page, where there are links to download the 2010 and 2013 reports in full. 

You can download the global briefing for our latest poll (2017) here: 

Global briefing

Individual country briefings are available below: 

1. Argentina

2. Australia

3. Brazil

4. Bulgaria

5. Canada

6. Denmark

7. Egypt

8. France

9. Germany

10. Great Britain

11. Republic of Ireland

12. Israel

13. Italy

14. Japan

15. Mexico

16. Netherlands

17. Norway

18. Portugal

19. Russia

20. Slovenia

21. Spain

22. Sweden

23. Switzerland

24. Turkey

25. USA

Our 2010 study, Global Perceptions of Lung Cancer

People living with lung cancer are too often stigmatised because of link to smoking

Lung cancer patients are likely to suffer significant stigma due to the disease's link to smoking: that is the top-line finding of a survey carried out by Ipsos MORI on behalf of the Global Lung Cancer Coalition. 

The study 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, 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; 29% in Australia; 28% in Brazil; 24% in Great Britain; 23% in Slovenia; 22% in Canada and the USA; 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).

The full text of the 2010 report can be downloaded here.


Our 2013 Study, Public Unaware of Symptoms of Lung Cancer 

More than one in five people are unable to name any symptoms of the world’s biggest cancer killer, according to a survey published by the GLCC.

The research, which was carried out by Ipsos MORI, investigated awareness of the symptoms of lung cancer and smoking prevalence in 21 countries.

Researchers found that across all the countries, 22% of people surveyed admitted they could not name any symptoms of the disease, which claims the lives of 1.37 million people globally every year[1].

The research, which surveyed over 17,000 people, also found that former smokers are slightly more likely to be aware of symptoms than current smokers or people who have never smoked.[2]

Dr Matthew Peters, chair of The Global Lung Cancer Coalition, which is made up of 31 non-government patient organisation across the globe, said: "Patients are often diagnosed with lung cancer at a very late stage when treatment is no longer an option.

“If we can get patients diagnosed earlier, we can treat them and save lives. That is why being aware of the symptoms is so important.

“It is shocking to think that almost a quarter of people can not name any symptoms of the world’s biggest cancer killer.

“We would call on governments and health organisations around the world to look at these findings and realise how important it is they take steps to raise awareness of lung cancer in their respective countries.”

The report found lack of awareness of lung cancer symptoms varied between different countries.

Egyptian (48%), Argentinian (42%), Mexican (35%) and Portuguese (33%) respondents are most likely to say they couldn’t name any symptoms. At the other end of the spectrum, fewer than one in ten French (seven per cent) and Irish (nine per cent) people are unable to name any symptoms.

Overall, breathlessness was the most commonly identified symptom (41% of respondents mentioned it spontaneously on average across the countries) but a similar proportion identified a cough or coughing (39% on average across the countries). Others mentioned more specific types of coughing such as coughing blood or a cough that gets worse. 

In Australia and Great Britain, current smokers are less aware of the symptoms of lung cancer than former smokers and people who have never smoked. In three countries (France, Ireland and Portugal), current smokers appear to have greater awareness of potential symptoms.

Technical note

Between 500 and 1204 respondents were interviewed in each country, either face-to-face or by telephone (omnibus survey), in between June and August 2013.[3] Data have been weighted to the known population profile of each country.

The survey was conducted across Argentina, Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the USA.

Please note that overall figures are calculated by taking the average across the 21 countries.

[1] This is based on 2008 data – the latest available.

[2] On average across all countries, 22% of former smokers don’t know any symptoms, compared with 27% of current smokers and 24% of people who have never smoked regularly.

[3] Please note the starting age varied slightly between countries. The lowest age for each country is as follows: Germany: 14 years; Australia, Ireland, Mexico and Norway: 15 years; Sweden: 17 years; Egypt and Japan: 20 years; all other countries: 18 years.

The full text of the 2013 report can be downloaded here