The high level of distress seen in people with lung cancer can be attributed to a number of factors, including:
- being diagnosed with a high-mortality cancer
- being diagnosed at an advanced stage with a poor prognosis
- post-treatment side effects
- comorbidities or debilitating symptoms
- nihilistic attitude among the public, media and healthcare professionals
- stigma, shame and blame
- being less likely to access supportive services.
Shifting attitudes is the necessary starting point for reducing the burden of lung cancer
Reduced mortality from lung cancer can dramatically decrease the economic toll of cancer. The evidence supporting targeted lung cancer screening supports its implementation. The time to act is now.
An important starting point is to consider smoking as an addiction worthy of support and treatment. Investment in early detection of lung cancer will not just reduce the economic toll of cancer on our society, but can transform lung cancer into a treatable condition, with significant impact on people’s quality of life. Both from a public health and a human perspective, lung cancer screening is worth the investment. For a person with lung cancer, time is everything – and the time for screening is now.
This blog was written by Aoife McNamara, Information Development Manager at the Irish Cancer Society and Steering Committee Member for the Global Lung Cancer Coalition, and Suzanne Wait, Managing Director at The Health Policy Partnership.
The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of The Health Policy Partnership.