Lung cancer

Survey finds lack of empathy for people with lung cancer

The perception that lung cancer patients ‘have only themselves to blame’ is common in the community – suggesting a general lack of empathy and support for patients with lung cancer compared to other severe illnesses.

A Lung Foundation Australia survey has found 40% of the community wouldn’t hesitate to ask people diagnosed with lung cancer if they had smoked – even before expressing concern.

This was despite the fact that one in three women and one in 10 men diagnosed with lung cancer have no history of smoking.

Lung Foundation Australia CEO Heather Allan said there was clearly work to be done to break down the stigma associated with lung disease.

“We don’t lay blame or judgment on people diagnosed with other cancers or chronic health conditions that can be caused by lifestyle choices – it should be no different for lung disease.”

Almost 90% of Australians believe smoking is the only risk factor for lung cancer – ignoring other factors such as genetics, pollution and occupational exposures.

Lung Foundation Australia Chair Professor Christine Jenkins said stigma was having a detrimental impact on funding, research and support for people with lung cancer and other lung diseases.

“We need to throw out these prejudices and ensure we are acknowledging and supporting people with lung disease.”

“It is imperative that we do all we can to ensure misinformation and stigma are no longer barriers to action and greater support.”

Already a member?

Login to keep reading.

Email me a login link

© 2022 the limbic