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Women unite

A new campaign calls on women to help make a difference in the fight against lung cancer in the UK

A new campaign aimed at raising awareness of the risks of lung cancer and the impact the disease has on the lives of both sufferers and their families has been launched.

Women Against Lung Cancer (WALC), launched on September 26, has been set up to highlight the ferocity of the condition, not just in men but in women too, and call for an urgent increase in national research funding.

The number of young women suffering from the disease is rising, with the lung cancer killing 13,500 women each year in the UK. The disease accounts for 11 per cent of all female cancers. However, it is still traditionally thought of primarily as a cancer that affects men - a misconception that WALC wants to banish.

Some 38,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer each year in the UK and 34,000 die from the disease annually, yet just 1.4 per cent of total research funding is spent on lung cancer according to WALC.

WALC is a four-pronged campaign aimed at:

  • Raising awareness of the lung cancer epidemic

  • Increasing funding for lung cancer research and, in particular, research into the early detection of lung cancer

  • Ensuring that lung cancer patients receive the best treatment and care

  • Freeing lung cancer patients from blame and stigma.

Dame Judi Dench, the patron of WALC, said: ìWe have put up with this intolerable situation for too long and now is the time to take action. The lung cancer rate in among women is increasing; our children and young people continue to take health risks in their droves, apparently indifferent to the long-term consequences. We women are the guardians of our families' health - often having to nag dad, partner or son to visit the doctor.î

Dame Gill Oliver, who will be responsible for the day-to-day running of WALC, said that more has to be done to raise awareness in women of the link between smoking and lung cancer. She believes that the disease, which has been dubbed the Cinderella of cancers, gets forgotten because it does not have the media or political appeal of breast cancer.

Women are being encouraged to become members of WALC, and while membership is free, people are asked to give much-needed donations to the campaign. For further information on signing up to WALC, donations, campaigning and fundraising, visit www.walc.org.uk.

30th September 2008

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