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Lung Cancer Misperceptions: The “Any One Any Lung” Survey

By Clive Riddle, November 21, 2014

Misperception surrounding a disease can impact treatment, care, funding, and more. So it would seem is the case with lung cancer, as just highlighted in a new survey “Any One Any Lung” Survey sponsored by Novartis Oncology. The online survey was conducted by Harris Poll involving 10,111 adults from 10 countries including the U.S., 84% responding that they know little or nothing about lung cancer. The stated goal of the campaign surrounding the survey is to “to raise global awareness of lung cancer as a complex disease that can affect anyone, regardless of gender, age or smoking history.”

Stefania Vallone from the organization, Women Against Lung Cancer in Europe, has this to say in conjunction with the survey: “While patient advocates around the world have played an important role in raising lung cancer awareness, misinformation continues to surround this disease, creating barriers to treatment and patient care and often generating negative attitudes towards patients affected by this disease. We are calling on the general public to help correct misperceptions around lung cancer and highlight the disease for what it truly is, a complex and heterogeneous disease with many causes that can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender or smoking history, and that over the past 30 years has doubled in incidence and mortality rates, especially among women."

Here’s results from the survey that Novartis shared to make their case regarding misperceptions:

  • 59% didn't realize that lung cancer causes the most cancer deaths worldwide
  • 55% of adults feel that people with lung cancer are mostly or fully responsible for causing their cancer, compared to the levels perceiving the same about people diagnosed with prostate (12%), colon (14%) or breast (11%) cancer.
  • 17% believe that all people who are diagnosed with lung cancer are current or former smokers
  • 75% immediately think smoking is the cause when they hear someone has lung cancer (approximately 10 – 15% with the disease have never smoked)
  • 40% say there is little support or compassion for people with lung cancer in their country
  • Only 23% recognize changes in genetic makeup as a cause of lung cancer
  • 6% believe no one under the age of 40 can get lung cancer
  • 19%) recognize that therapies targeted to a specific change in genetic makeup can be used to treat lung cancer, significantly less than mention chemotherapy delivered directly to into the blood, (68%), radiation (66%), surgery (61%) and therapies that help the body's immune system fight cancer (52%)

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