FEDERAL Member for Wright Scott Buchholz has co-hosted a morning tea with the Lung Foundation of Australia, inviting community members to hear from a range of guest speakers including lung cancer patients, in an effort to raise awareness about lung cancer.
Lung cancer is a leading cause of death and affects millions of Australians but awareness and understanding of the disease remains dangerously low.
Mr Buchholz said he was surprised to hear that lung cancer was the fourth most-commonly diagnosed cancer in adults and the leading cause of cancer death in Australian men and women.
"The statistics are absolutely shocking, it is estimated that over 12,800 Australians will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year.
"Unfortunately, lung cancer does not demonstrate clear signs and symptoms, often going undiagnosed and ignored until it is in late stages. This is one of the reasons lung cancer currently has one of the lowest survival rates of any cancer, with just 15 per cent of people living five years past their diagnosis."
Mr Buchholz said it was the indiscriminate nature of lung cancer which made it so dangerous.
"Lung Cancer does not discriminate. It affects everyone, men, women, smokers, non-smokers" he said.
"One in three women and one in ten men with lung cancer have no history of smoking.
"One of the key topics discussed at the community morning tea was around awareness and barriers to increasing awareness. Shockingly, 35 per cent of Aussies lack empathy for lung cancer patients, believing it is their own fault or '..they are their own worst enemy..', but we know this not to be the case."
Mr Buchholz said the morning tea on October 31 at Nerang was a real eye opener and exposed the way many patients were treated, characterised by low public awareness and negative stereotypes.
"It is time to get rid of the stigma around lung cancer and rally behind patients and their families. This is an awful disease, which no one deserves," he said.
Speaking alongside a number of guest speakers, including medical oncologist Dr Suzanne Allan, Lung Cancer Nurse Louise Underhill and Lung Cancer Patient, Michel I'tel - Mr Buchholz said he would continue to encourage the community to discuss lung cancer with their doctor, attend awareness events and shine a light on lung cancer.
"November is Lung Cancer awareness month, take this opportunity to talk to family and friends, to do some reading, share a post on social media or event donate," Mr Buchholz said.
Mr Buchholz said the federal government had taken action on lung cancer with:
- $960,000 provided for research into new diagnostic imaging technology to allow accurate assessment of lung function in patients
- Avastin®, a medicine to treat lung cancer, which would have otherwise cost $189,000 will now help over 750 patients and be available for as little as $6.50 listed on the PBS from October 1, 2019
- Pemetrexed®, a medicine for the treatment of metastatic non-small cell lung cancer, and mesothelioma will also have its authority level reduced to make it easier for doctors to prescribe from July 1 this year.
- Tagrisso®, a medicine to treat lung cancer, which would have otherwise cost $8000 per script or almost $88,000 per year, will now cost $40.30 per script or $6.50 for concessional patients, listed on the PBS from February 1 2019
For more information about lung cancer, visit lungfoundation.com.au.