Lung Cancer Awareness Month targets the social injustice

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CANCER Council Queensland CEO Chris McMillan addressed the media today. IMAGE: Supplied

CANCER Council Queensland calls for help to tackle tobacco as a social justice issue.

Cancer Council Queensland is on a mission to stamp out smoking in disadvantaged communities and is encouraging social and community service organisations to join them.

Rates of daily smoking are about three times higher among adults living in socioeconomically disadvantaged areas than those in advantaged areas, and two-and-a-half times for Indigenous Queenslanders – putting people’s lung health and lives at risk.

Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms McMillan said Lung Cancer Awareness Month provided an opportunity to raise community awareness of lung cancer and offer support to both those affected and at a higher risk of the disease.

“More than 2300 Queenslanders are diagnosed with lung cancer each year, and sadly, around 1760 will die from the disease each year,” Ms McMillan said.

“While there are many factors that can contribute to lung cancer, we do know that smoking is the leading cause, with an estimated 80 per cent of all lung cancer cases in the state is attributable to smoking.

“Education is vital in helping all Queenslanders understand the many individual and social factors that contribute to smoking and lung cancer – so that those affected don’t have to face cancer alone.”

To reduce the physical, social and financial impact that smoking has on disadvantaged populations, Cancer Council Queensland has recently launched a new webpage, Tackling Tobacco Queensland.

"Our Tackling Tobacco program works by helping community service organisations to address smoking amongst clients through training, resources and networking opportunities,” Ms McMillan said.

“Organisations that service disadvantaged populations are perfectly placed to create positive change as they have existing connections with these populations and are committed to improving their wellbeing.

"Smoking damages people's health, increases their financial stress and erodes their quality of life. Everyone deserves to live smoke free and have more money in their pocket.

"Tackling Tobacco is our way of targeting social injustice and disadvantage from the ground up and helping people realise that they can quit smoking, become role models in their community and help their family and friends live a healthier, more financially sustainable life."

Social and community sector staff can find out more about the Tackling Tobacco Queensland program by visiting bit.ly/tacklingtobaccoqld and Queenslanders ready to quit smoking should contact Quitline 13 QUIT (13 7848) or speak to a health professional.

“As we work towards a future free of lung cancer, we encourage Queenslanders to reduce their risk and also foster support for those affected,” Ms McMillan said.

“We urge anyone affected by lung cancer to call us on 13 11 20 for support – we’re here to help Queenslanders deal with the physical, relational and emotional impacts of a cancer diagnosis.”

More about Cancer Council Queensland and lung cancer is available via www.cancerqld.org.au or 13 11 20.

Benefits of quitting smoking

People will experience health benefits as soon as they put out their last cigarette.

12 hours: The level of carbon monoxide in the person’s blood drops dramatically.
72 hours: Sense of taste and smell improves.
2 weeks: Lung function and circulation improves.
1 month: Coughing and shortness of breath decrease.
1 year: Risk of coronary heart disease is halved compared to continuing smokers.
5 years: Risk of stroke is reduced and the risk of mouth and throat cancer decreases.
10 years: Risk of lung cancer death is halved.
15 years: Risk of heart disease is the same as someone who has never smoked.

Lung cancer cases

Around 140 people in Far North Queensland are diagnosed with lung cancer per year and about 110 will die from the disease each year.
Around 135 people in North Queensland are diagnosed with lung cancer per year and about 100 will die from the disease each year.
Around 65 people in the Mackay region are diagnosed with lung cancer per year and about 50 will die from the disease each year.
Around 120 people in Central Queensland are diagnosed with lung cancer per year and about 95 will die from the disease each year.
Around 180 people in the Wide Bay-Burnett region are diagnosed with lung cancer per year and about 125 will die from the disease each year.
Around 310 people in the Sunshine Coast region are diagnosed with lung cancer per year and about 230 will die from the disease each year.
Around 165 people in South West Queensland are diagnosed with lung cancer per year and about 135 will die from the disease each year.
Around 855 people in the greater Brisbane region are diagnosed with lung cancer per year and about 625 will die from the disease each year.
Around 330 people in the Gold Coast region are diagnosed with lung cancer per year and about 240 will die from the disease each year.

Data source: Queensland Cancer Register
Incidence and mortality data are averaged over the five-year period from 2011-2015.

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