A report in one of Australia’s leading newspapers, the Sydney Morning Herald, references findings from a GLCC poll on attitudes towards lung cancer.
The article, written by journalist Jordan Baker and published on 9 January 2023, highlights the ‘’devastating’’ impact of the disease on the lives of two women.
The first, Louise Kuchel, thought she just had a mild cough. However, last year, at the age of 51, she was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. Her oncologist has confirmed it is inoperable and incurable.
In the article, she is quoted as saying: “It’s absolutely upturned my entire life and my whole family’s life. I’m also really devastated at the lack of awareness and the stigma. Considering it’s our biggest [cancer] killer, why does no-one know about it?”
The second woman whose case is highlighted is Briony Scott, the principal of Wenona in North Sydney. She was diagnosed in 2015, since when she has been trying to raise awareness and address the stigma surrounding lung cancer.
She points to the lack of scientific research into lung cancer, as consistently highlighted by the ongoing reports commissioned by the GLCC into The State of Global Lung Cancer Research.
Again, she cites the stigma attached to lung cancer as being a significant factor.
She is quoted as saying: “We don’t really research lung cancer. The reason we don’t is there is a stigma attached to it, on par with AIDS and mental health. It’s such a traumatic cancer to get because everybody takes three steps back.
“If I had diabetes, they’d lean towards me. If I had breast cancer, they’d run towards me. [If it’s lung cancer], they step back and say put your affairs in order, it’s your fault.”
The article then refers to our poll into attitudes towards the disease:
‘’A Global Lung Cancer Coalition survey … found almost one in three Australians had less sympathy for people with lung cancer than other forms of cancer.’’
The article also highlights the fact that people with no history of smoking tobacco products are also at risk of getting lung cancer.
It says: ‘’These days, up to 20 per cent of lung cancer cases are identified in non-smokers, and of those, women between 40 and 79 are more likely to develop lung cancer than men.’’
Read the original article Sydney Morning Herald story HERE.
For further information about lung cancer in Australia or other nations, including national statistics on incidence, mortality and survival rates, refer to our Global E Atlas, which features a newly-updated database.
To learn more about lung cancer screening programmes, please refer to our screening resource.