World Lung Cancer Awareness Day – August 1, 2021

World’s Respiratory Societies Support Community Action and Education for Lung Cancer Awareness Day

Cape Town, Glenview, Lausanne, Montevideo, New York, Paris, and Tokyo

August 1, 2021 – In support of World Lung Cancer Day on August 1, the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS), of which GOLD is a founding member, stresses the importance of community action and early screening to prevent and treat lung cancer

Responsible for 25% of all cancer deaths, lung cancer remains a topic for concern. According to the World Health Organization, each year, more people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast, and liver cancers combined. Worldwide, in 2020, there were 2.21 million new cases of lung cancer and 1.80 million deaths. Despite these alarming statistics, the rate of lung cancer is dropping because of tobacco cessation efforts.

World Lung Cancer Day is an excellent opportunity to raise awareness for people affected by lung cancer and also effective ways for its prevention, the most important being tobacco cessation. Eliminating tobacco use is the number one way to reduce lung cancer cases. Community can play an important role through education around preventable risk factors for lung cancer and the importance of early detection to most effectively treat lung cancer.

To reduce the prevalence of lung cancer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends community action and education including:

• Public education around lung cancer risk factors
• Reducing minors’ access to tobacco products and e-cigarettes
• Helping people quit using tobacco products
• Helping people avoid secondhand smoke
• Reducing exposure to radon
• Encouraging people to be screened for lung cancer as recommended

In addition to tobacco cessation, access to screening and early detection is vital for reducing lung cancer deaths through early detection and treatment. If lung cancer is found at an early stage, when it is small and before it has spread, it is more likely to be successfully treated.
Lung cancer screening with a low-dose tomography (also known as low-dose CT or LDCT) scan is recommended for at risk people to detect the earliest stages of lung cancer before symptoms occur. The American Cancer Society recommends that all current or former smokers and those over the age of 55 consider seeking a low-dose CT scan screening to potentially detect lung cancer in its earliest stages.

When they present, lung cancer symptoms include change in mucus, chest or back pain, coughing up blood and difficulty swallowing. Timely and equitable access to health care for assessment and treatment is vital.

About the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS): The Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) is an organisation comprised of the world’s leading international respiratory societies working together to improve lung health globally: American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST), American Thoracic Society (ATS), Asian Pacific Society of Respirology (APSR), Asociación Latino Americana De Tórax (ALAT), European Respiratory Society (ERS), International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases (The Union), Pan African Thoracic Society (PATS), Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA), and the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD).

The goal of FIRS is to unify and enhance efforts to improve lung health through the combined work of its more than 70,000 members globally. For more information about FIRS, please contact Lisa Roscoe