Every year, on this day, the world comes together to highlight the risk factors that lead to lung cancer, spread awareness, and highlight its prominence and the need for further research.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide, accounting for the highest mortality rates among both men and women.

It claims the lives of around 1.8 million people each year, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The Global Lung Cancer Coalition brings together organisations from around the world dedicated to addressing this worldwide health issue and to improving outcomes for all affected. Thus, the GLCC is the international voice of all people who have lung cancer.

On our home page you can see the wide range of work we do to raise awareness of the disease, and what is being done to better understand its development, and diagnose it early when the most effective treatment options are available.

World Lung Cancer Day provides an opportunity to share insights and aspirations for the future

From our chair, Matthew Peters:

‘’In the 22 years since the GLCC first came together, we have witnessed significant and substantial advances in lung cancer care, especially in early diagnosis. Above all, we have seen additional investment, by national governments and funding bodies, into work to improve care and outcomes.  

‘’Although there is much more still to be done, it is refreshing that some of that extra investment has resulted in novel treatment approaches that allows people diagnosed with lung cancer to live better and live for longer.

‘’However, we cannot ignore basic facts. Lung cancer remains a disease which reflects disparities and inequalities across the globe.  

‘’In some countries with limited healthcare infrastructures, access to advances in lung cancer medicines and diagnostic techniques can be limited.

‘’Sadly, in such circumstances, we too often hear statements such as:  “Our lung cancer patients can only look with envy to other countries where new effective treatments are available, whereas they are stuck with 20th century treatments that deliver 20th century outcomes”.  

‘’And for those countries where treatment access is better, two themes clearly emerge.  The treatment advances need to be accompanied with a care structure – including nursing support and adequate staffing levels – that put life into survival.

‘’Finally, as welcome as they are, the latest treatment advances do not help every patient as yet and it is crucial that we continue research so that no lung cancer patient is ‘left behind’. ‘’

From Carolyn ‘Bo’ Aldigé, Founder of Prevent Cancer Foundation (USA):

‘’I would argue that we know how to prevent almost all cases of lung cancer; the key is helping people change their behavior to reduce their risk. 

’We also need to learn better ways to get high-risk individuals to participate in screening – another instance of much-needed behavior change.’’

From Korina Pateli Bell, Founder FairLife Lung Cancer Care (Greece):

‘’Lung cancer care to me is about being persistent, keeping up to date with new treatments and doing targeted, thorough, testing.

‘’I also want to stress the importance of prompt molecular testing after the initial diagnosis, so that patients can get the best treatment as soon as possible. Biomarkers help doctors determine the best treatment  for each patient.

‘’Each cancer can be different, each cancer is unique..

‘’Αlso, I wish to say that although people might have a positive attitude towards smokers and lung cancer, that is not always the case. There is  prejudice, there is ignorance about it, and all I have to say is that you don’t have to be a smoker to get lung cancer.

Let’s focus on scientific developments, on innovative treatments. Not on stigma.’’

Symptoms of lung cancer

Lung cancer often shows no early signs, but the most common symptoms include a persistent cough, coughing up blood, constant breathlessness, unexplained exhaustion and weight loss, and feeling aches and pains when breathing or coughing.

Less common symptoms of the disease are wheezing, a hoarse voice, swelling of face or neck, persistent chest or shoulder pain, difficulty swallowing, and clubbing of the fingers.

People who notice these symptoms should see their primary care doctor (family doctor, GP).

Further information about lung cancer, diagnosis and treatment HERE.