Shining a Light on Lung Cancer

“It’s time to get rid of the stigma around lung cancer – it has no place here. No one deserves lung cancer. The statistics are frightening, and the level of funding is disgustingly low. But times are changing.” – Mel McLaughlin, 7NEWS Sports Anchor.

Each hour an Australian family loses a loved one to lung cancer. This is all too real for Mel McLaughlin who tragically lost her big sister, Tara in 2015. It’s a disease that takes the lives of more people than breast and ovarian cancers combined.

Yet, at the same time, more than a third (35%) of Australians believe those living with lung cancer only have themselves to blame. Stigma towards lung cancer is a barrier that blocks investment into research, treatment, and support. In fact, lung cancer receives little government investment for research into diagnosis and treatment options.

It’s time to shine a light on lung cancer.

Lung Cancer is Under Invested

Every year, the Shine a Light on Lung Cancer community aims to raise funds to change the lung cancer space for the better – raising funds to support research that can offer breakthroughs, advocacy that can change outcomes, and support services that can offer hope. 

Research

Lung cancer has a devastating impact on the lives of thousands of Australians, with one of the lowest survival rates of all cancers. But there is hope. In recent years, advances in new treatments have seen an increase in the survival rate and quality of life for people impacted by the disease – research is providing hope that has never existed before.

Lung Foundation Australia provides seed funds for the best and brightest researchers to undertake research projects that support discoveries towards the prevention, management and cure of lung cancer. Scientific breakthroughs can take years to accomplish but every dollar makes a difference to the lives of people impacted by lung cancer.

For a full list of the current research programs, click here.

Support Services

Navigating the health system as a person living with lung cancer can be stressful and confusing.  There are many delays in treatment and support. In fact, 20% of people do not receive any treatment following their diagnosis.

Access to lung cancer clinical nurse specialists is inadequate despite the benefit they provide; people who have access to a lung cancer clinical nurse specialist are 34% more likely to receive treatment than those who do not.   

Lung Foundation Australia’s Information and Support Services offer guidance in navigating the lung health system. As part of the team, a Lung Cancer Support Nurse is available to offer the information and guidance people need, supporting those from metro to regional locations via phone. Now more than ever, more funding is needed to sustain and increase support services and access to lung cancer clinical nurse specialists, so that everyone has the chance to receive the same level of access to care and treatment.

For more information on our support services, click here.

Advocacy

Every Australian is entitled to the same public access to diagnostics, treatment and care – regardless of the disease they have or the cause of their cancer. The reality is, those living with lung cancer are battling for equality in funding for research, faster access to new treatments and clinical trials, and access to multi-disciplinary care teams (MDTs) and lung cancer clinical nurse specialists. Lung cancer has the lowest five-year survival rate of the five most commonly diagnosed cancers – and it’s time for this to change.

This year, Lung Foundation Australia has advocated at all levels of government to:

  • Increase the number lung cancer nurses nationwide
  • Increase access to MDTs
  • Adopt a national lung cancer screening program
  • Increase investment into research, including clinical trials

In August, The Hon Greg Hunt MP announced an enquiry into a national lung cancer screening program. There is still a long way to go – and we need your help. Whether it is fundraising, a donation, or simply subscribing to our community to join the fight – the more people we have standing with us the more movement we can make at a government level.

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