Lung Cancer - the Truth, the Facts, the Story
Lung cancer is the biggest killer of all cancers in the developed world. It claims an estimated 3.5 million lives a year worldwide even though it’s a disease which is largely preventable.
Smoking causes nine out of ten lung cancer deaths but more than a billion people around the world currently smoke. Small wonder health campaigners call cigarettes “death in a packet”.
Thanks to hard-hitting public health education campaigns and government restrictions on advertising, many richer nations are now starting to see a decline both in the numbers of people smoking and in deaths from lung cancer. But campaigners feel far more needs to be done in terms of early detection of the disease and developing new treatments. The cruel fact for the vast majority of people diagnosed with lung cancer is that it’s already too late – they’ll die of the disease within less than a year. But with early detection the disease can be effectively treated and survival rates soar dramatically.
Lung Cancer Information and Research
Compared with other more high profile diseases such as breast and prostate cancer, lung cancer receives relatively little research funding. This is despite the fact that, in many western countries, the disease kills more people than breast, prostate and colon cancer combined. Some say this is because lung cancer inspires little sympathy and is largely seen as a self-inflicted illness. Yet many smokers now being diagnosed with the disease started smoking many years before the health hazards were made public. And the lack of emphasis placed on detection and treatment is tough for victims of passive smoking (an estimated 30 people die each day in Britain from passive smoking according to a report in the British Medical Journal in March 2005).
Lung Cancer and the Third World
While arguments over funding for research and detection rage in the developed world, the picture looks even bleaker in poorer nations. The multi-billion-dollar tobacco industry is now turning its might on developing countries which offer easy pickings in terms of a whole new generation of smokers – many of whom will be unaware of the health risks. Governments in poorer countries are more easily seduced by the inward investment offered by the big brand manufacturers who exploit the lack of public health awareness among the masses.
According to the UK’s government-backed Institute of Development Studies (http://www.ids.ac.uk), smoking will be killing ten million people a year by 2020 and 75% of those deaths will be in developing countries. Extraordinary figures for a preventable disease.
Guide4Living is funded by private individuals who have no affiliation to any government or medical institution, charity, research body or tobacco company. The purpose of the site is solely to encourage public debate about a deadly disease which looks set to become one of the world’s biggest health risks over the next two decades. So if you have anything to say on the subject please contact us or post a message on our feedback.