Lung cancer kills more people than breast cancer, colon cancer and prostate cancer combined. 1 in 4 cancer deaths are from lung cancer, which roughly equates to 58 Canadians dying from lung cancer each day - over 21,000 each year. However, lung cancer continues to be one of the most stigmatized diseases, often leaving patients feeling isolated and alone.
No one deserves lung cancer, and people with lung cancer deserve the same level of treatment and compassion as any other cancer patient.
Unfortunately, the stigma surrounding lung cancer can directly impact a patient's prognosis.
66% of lung cancer patients say people believe their disease is self-inflicted.
The fact is, anyone with lungs can get lung cancer. This includes current smokers, those that have worked hard to quit, and people who have never smoked. A variety of factors can impact whether someone will get lung cancer, including but not limited to genetics, environmental factors, asbestos, radon, and second-hand smoke.
No one deserves lung cancer and yet lung cancer patients face stigma and judgment that they have a self-inflicted illness.
45% of lung cancer patients reported putting off going to the doctor because of self-blame
This can lead to unnecessary delayed diagnoses and future complications. 42% of lung cancer patients reported they felt less deserving of help than those with other types of cancer. Stigma has created a negative perception of blame when it comes to lung cancer. No other disease receives the same type of judgement and scrutiny, and yet 22% of Canadians stated that they had less sympathy for lung cancer patients than people with other cancers.
No one deserves lung cancer. People facing a lung cancer diagnosis should never have to feel guilty, isolated and alone. They deserve the same level of treatment and empathy as other cancer patients. They deserve to have the same fighting chance.
Lung cancer can result in unnecessary social isolation. 55% of lung cancer patients reported experiencing social isolation as a result of their disease and 55% of people with lung cancer reported seeing friends and family less since diagnosis. Social support is critical for the survival and quality of life of chronic disease patients. Every cancer patient deserves support.
No one deserves lung cancer and it should not be a journey someone has to face alone.
Lung Cancer Stigma
Lung Cancer is a biggest cancer killer in Canada, killing more people than breast cancer, colorectal cancer and prostate cancer combined. However, lung cancer is also the least funded. Compared to others cancers, lung cancer receives only a fragment of the investment and this is undoubtedly linked to the heavy stigma around the disease. In fact, a study comparing the burden of certain cancers relative to their funding found that lung cancer was under-funded when compared to the burden it poses on society (on incidence, mortality and person-years of life lost). The study concluded that “disease stigma negatively impacts funding”
A disproportionate amount of research investment is allocated to lung cancer when compared to other cancers, with only 7% of funding going to support lung cancer research. In addition, lung cancer only gets 0.1% of cancer donations.