Lung Cancer Awareness Month: IASLC Aims to Change Perception of Disease

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Contact: Becky Bunn                                      
IASLC Projects Specialist     | 720-325-2946                                                                                                

International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer Aims to Change Perception of Disease
November Provides Opportunities to Confront Lung Cancer Myths

DENVER – November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, but lung cancer does not have an awareness problem; lung cancer has a perception problem. What many people believe about lung cancer is inaccurate, and the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) knows that if we can confront these myths, we can change misconceptions and help find cures for lung cancer.

Lung cancer only affects a small portion of the population.

Truth: Each year, lung cancer causes more deaths than breast, prostate and colon cancer combined. The World Health Organization reported nearly 1.6 million lung cancer deaths worldwide in 2012 and the American Cancer Society estimates that 158,000 Americans will die from lung cancer in 2015.

Myth: It doesn’t matter when you quit smoking tobacco.

Truth: While approximately 80 percent of lung cancer cases stem from smoking tobacco, it is never too late to stop. Quitting smoking dramatically reduces the risk of cancer. Within five years of quitting, the risk of developing many cancers is cut in half and the risk of lung cancer drops to half after 10 years. Additionally, smoking reduces the efficacy of most cancer treatments. That means even if a person already has cancer, quitting can still extend their lifespan.

Myth: Only tobacco smokers develop lung cancer.

Truth: Anyone with lungs can develop lung cancer. According to research presented at the 16th WCLC in Denver, in the UK the number of never-smokers with lung cancer jumped from 13 percent to 28 percent over seven years. Additionally, a study of patients in the U.S. also reported that never-smokers accounted for a growing percentage of lung cancer cases.

Myth: Lung cancer cannot be detected early.

Truth: A low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) screen, followed by two annual screens, has been shown to reduce lung cancer mortality by 20 percent. Subsequently, LDCT has been approved for high risk patients. If detected early, the 5-year lung cancer survival rate is much higher at 55 to 75 percent.

Myth: Lung cancer is always fatal.

Truth: New targeted therapies and treatments have advanced more in the last five to 10 years than in the last 50; new medications and treatments help patients live longer, become long-term survivors and give us hope that this disease will soon become a chronically managed condition.

Lung Cancer Awareness Day started in 1995 and with the spread of that movement, November eventually became Lung Cancer Awareness Month. During this month, people across the globe come together to show support and raise awareness for the lung cancer community. For more than 40 years, the IASLC has dedicated itself to supporting this community, finding ways to create more lung cancer survivors. Our goal is to conquer thoracic cancers worldwide – and we work every day to create this new reality.

One way to raise awareness and support lung cancer patients is to tell those around us the truth about lung cancer. This new understanding can create new waves of support and aid to those who need and deserve our help. When people know more, they are more likely to lend a helping hand.

The IASLC works continuously to do what we can to aid in battle against lung cancer. Our organization hosts annual meetings, including the World Conference on Lung Cancer (WCLC) to bring specialists in the field together so they can share knowledge and best practices, creating a global forum to make sure the latest in scientific progress reaches the entire globe.

The IASLC’s monthly peer-reviewed scientific publication, The Journal of Thoracic Oncology, shares the latest in lung cancer research, keeping IASLC’s voice at the forefront of this conversation.

The IASLC is a pioneer in involving patients and advocates in this important conversation. For the first time, patients and advocates created programs and presentations for the most recent WCLC, actively participating in our efforts to engage a very important part of our community.

To help confront cancer myths and focus on curing the disease, the IASLC created several Fact Sheets (online at that provide crucial information about the disease and the work to conquer it worldwide. We also have experts from around the globe ready to discuss a variety of topics, including personalized medicine, tobacco control, prevention, lung cancer screening and patient advocacy. Please reach out to the IASLC through Projects Specialist Becky Bunn.

About the IASLC:

The International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) is the only global organization specifically dedicated to the study of lung cancer. Founded in 1974, the association's membership includes nearly 4,000 lung cancer specialists in 80 countries. For more information, visit:



November 3, 2015