Lung cancer X-ray
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'Low level of resonance' for lung cancer with public

Cancers fall into two categories - those you can survive and cancers that remain stubbornly unsurvivable.

Breast cancer comes very firmly into the first category. But lung cancer - in all but a few cases - comes in the second: a person diagnosed with lung cancer has only a 6% chance of being alive after five years - 35,000 people die of it every year in the UK.

Most are smokers or have been smokers - but 5,000 are not.

The Lung Cancer Alliance is a new initiative - based in London and five other cities but affecting the whole of the UK - which aims to deliver what it calls dramatic benefits

Katherine Foot, Deputy Director of the Kings Fund healthcare think tank, told the Today programme: "We're in a good place nationally to make further improvements.

"A new alliance that brings together all the relevant parties to concert efforts that bit more I think could make some real headway."

Stephen Spiro, deputy chair of the British Lung Foundation said: "I think the problem is lung cancer has always had a low level of resonance with the public.

"People who get lung cancer tend to be nearing 70 years of age, they're often lower socio-economic groups, and you live for eight to nine months, on average, so it's not possible to develop good advocacy for the disease."

First broadcast on the Today programme on Friday 26 April.

  • 26 Apr 2013