Home CHEST News World Lung Cancer Day 2019 Fact Sheet

World Lung Cancer Day 2019 Fact Sheet

Lung cancer continues to be one of the most common cancers worldwide, claiming more lives yearly than breast, colon, and prostate cancers combined. World Lung Cancer Day is a great opportunity for us all to raise awareness about lung cancer, highlighting the key risk factors as well as screening and treatment options. 

This World Lung Cancer Day the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) commemorate, celebrate and support those impacted by lung cancer.

FIRS continues to support the grassroots efforts of the lung cancer community to raise awareness about lung cancer and its global impact, creating an educational movement of understanding about lung cancer risks as well as early treatment around the world.

Lung cancer: the most fatal cancer

  • Lung cancer is the most common cancer worldwide, accounting for more than 2 million new cases and 1.7 deaths in 2018.
  • Lung cancer is responsible for nearly one in five global deaths.
  • The highest estimated rates of lung cancer are in Hungary (56.7) and Serbia (49.8).
  • More than 90% of high-income countries reported treatment services are available for lung cancer as compared with less than 30% of low-income countries.
  • Lung cancer risk factors include active and passive exposure to tobacco smoke, biomass fuels, diesel exhaust, radon, asbestos and other environmental and workplace carcinogens.
  • The lung cancer five-year survival rate (17.7%) is lower than many other leading cancer sites, such as the colon (64.4%), breast (89.7%) and prostate (98.9%).

Treating lung cancer

  • In lower income countries, access to care and cost-effective treatments can reduce the human burden and societal impact of lung cancer.
  • Screening with CT scans compared with chest radiography resulted in a 20% reduction in lung cancer-specific deaths, but much cheaper and more accessible methods are needed for low-income settings.
  • Early-stage lung cancer is treated with curative-intent surgery or radiation therapy.
  • Selective patients may benefit from chemotherapy after surgical resection, while patients with local advanced disease may benefit from concurrent chemo-radiotherapy with or without surgery.
  • Although advanced stage lung cancer is not curable, many patients may have symptom improvement and survival prolongation by effective treatment.
  • Molecular-targeted therapy against epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations and anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) re-arrangements attain tumor response rates of around 70%.
  • Immunotherapy for lung cancer alone, or in combination with conventional treatments, may also improve outcomes for patients fighting lung cancer.
  • Environmental causes of lung cancer, such as radon and asbestos, can be monitored and reduced. Countries must not be allowed to export asbestos to poorer countries.
  • Other known modifiable risk factors, such as biomass fuels, diesel exhausts and air pollution must also be addressed.
  • Better screening, early diagnosis and identifying molecular targets for effective and cost-effective modern treatment should improve lung cancer outcomes.
  • Globally, efforts to reduce inequity of care and access to effective and affordable treatments are also vital for addressing the lung cancer crises around the world.

About FIRS

The Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) is an organization comprising the world's leading international respiratory societies and working together to improve lung health globally. The members of FIRS are the American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST),  American Thoracic Society (ATS), Asociación Latinoamericana De Tórax (ALAT), Asian Pacific Society of Respirology (APSR), European Respiratory Society (ERS), International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases (The Union) and Pan African Thoracic Society (PATS). Through education and advocacy, FIRS unites and enhances the efforts of 70,000 physicians, nurses, and other health care providers; biomedical researchers; and public health experts to improve lung health around the world.

Get Involved

Help spread the message about lung cancer:

  • Tweet including @lungsfirst and #WorldLungCancerDay
  • Share the press release 
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