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Survey Shows Lung Cancer Patients Blamed for Their Diagnosis


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Survey Shows Lung Cancer Patients Blamed for Their Diagnosis

November 12, 2008: 08:00 AM EST

WASHINGTON, Nov. 12 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Survey results released today show that the general population blames lung cancer patients for their diagnosis, confirming the stigma that patients reportedly feel. Findings also demonstrate a lack of public support for patients and a need for greater research for the number one cancer killer. Conducted by Lung Cancer Alliance and AstraZeneca, LP (NYSE: AZN), the national survey assessed the views of lung cancer patients, oncologists and the general public on lung cancer, support for lung cancer organizations, research funding for the disease, and availability of appropriate treatment options.

"This survey reinforces what the lung cancer community has felt for decades -- public perception of this disease is overwhelmingly negative," said Laurie Fenton Ambrose, President and CEO of Lung Cancer Alliance. "We’ve got to do more to overcome this pervasive stigma and focus attention where it should be -- on research for early detection and treatment for lung cancer."

Lack of Support for Lung Cancer Patients, Organizations

Fifty-nine percent of the general population surveyed said they agreed that lung cancer patients are at least partly to blame for their diagnosis, while 31 percent said lung cancer patients are treated differently than people with other types of cancers. Fifty-four percent of lung cancer patients agree that there is a stigma associated with having lung cancer. In addition:

-- 31 percent of lung cancer patients surveyed felt strangers or acquaintances had said or done things that blamed patients for their cancer.

-- 21 percent of patients reported that their friends and family have said or done things that they felt were blaming them for their lung cancer.

-- 13 percent of patients agree that their treatment team has said or done things that the patients felt blamed them for their cancer.

-- 60 percent of oncologists agreed that there is a stigma associated with lung cancer.

Just 20 percent of lung cancer patients and oncologists rate public support given to lung cancer organizations as very good or excellent. In contrast, 55 percent of lung cancer patients and 79 percent of oncologists said public support of breast cancer organizations is very good or excellent. The general population was nearly twice as likely to volunteer their time or donate money to breast cancer organizations versus lung cancer organizations.

Research and Treatment Needs

Twenty-three percent of lung cancer patients surveyed rated the current amount of research being conducted as very poor or poor, while 22 percent rated the amount of research as being fair. Oncologists also expressed dissatisfaction with the amount of lung cancer research. Additionally, 64 percent of oncologists said they do not have adequate treatment options for their patients with advanced lung cancer, compared with 15 percent of oncologists who said they did not have adequate treatment options for patients with advanced breast cancer.

While lung cancer causes one in three cancer deaths, lung cancer received less than 5 percent of the National Cancer Institute budget in 2007. Lung cancer received no funding from the Department of Defense or Centers for Disease Control, both of which funded breast cancer research at $2.07 billion and $201 million respectively in 2007.

About the Survey

The Lung Cancer Stigma Survey was conducted by Russell Research on behalf of Lung Cancer Alliance and AstraZeneca. The primary objective of this survey was to investigate what level of stigma is associated with lung cancer, and the impact of that stigma, among a random cross section of adults who: were not cancer patients, survivors or caretakers; were advanced lung cancer patients; were oncologists. Interviewing for this study was conducted both by phone and via the internet. The average length of the survey was 15 minutes.

A total of 1,481 adults were interviewed for this study: 1,071 adults who were not cancer patients, survivors or caretakers; 204 lung cancer patients (170 with stage 3 or 4 lung cancer and 34 with stage 1 or 2 disease); and 206 oncologists. Interviewing for this study was conducted from June 23, 2008 through August 1, 2008.

About Lung Cancer

This year alone, more than 215,000 Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer and more than 161,000 people will die from the disease. More people die of lung cancer each year than die of breast, prostate, colon, liver, kidney and melanoma cancers combined. More than 60 percent of new lung cancer cases are never smokers or former smokers, many of whom quit decades ago. Only 16 percent of lung cancer cases are diagnosed at the earliest, most curable stage. The majority of lung cancer patients are diagnosed so late, that they will die within the year.

About Lung Cancer Alliance

Lung Cancer Alliance (www.LungCancerAlliance.org) is the only national non-profit organization dedicated exclusively to patient support and advocacy for those living with or at risk for lung cancer. Lung Cancer Alliance is committed to leading the movement to reverse decades of stigma and neglect by empowering those with or at risk for the disease, elevating awareness and changing health policy.

About AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca is a major international healthcare business engaged in the research, development, manufacturing and marketing of meaningful prescription medicines and supplier for healthcare services. AstraZeneca is one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies with healthcare sales of $29.55 billion and is a leader in gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, neuroscience, respiratory, oncology and infectious disease medicines. In the United States, AstraZeneca is a $13.35 billion dollar healthcare business with 12,200 employees committed to improving people’s lives. AstraZeneca is listed in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (Global) as well as the FTSE4Good Index.

For more information visit http://www.astrazeneca-us.com.

SOURCE AstraZeneca; Lung Cancer Alliance

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