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Forbes McFall reports
"The Cancer Research Campaign claims many patients are not receiving the specialist services they need"
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Thursday, 28 December, 2000, 19:54 GMT
Lung cancer victims 'to blame'
Woman smoking
Smokers face a higher risk of lung cancer
Six out of 10 Scots believe smokers who develop lung cancer have brought the disease on themselves, according to a new survey.

The poll by Mori was commissioned for the Cancer Research Campaign and questioned 189 people north of the Border.

Almost 4,000 Scots die each year from the disease, which the charity has dubbed "the invisible cancer".

But compared with other cancers it has a relatively low public profile.

There has been a wall of silence surrounding lung cancer for far too long

Dr Richard Sullivan
That is why the campaign group has named January Lung Cancer Awareness Month.

Although 62% of those questioned felt smokers were to blame for their lung cancer, 88% believed sufferers were as deserving of NHS treatment as other cancer patients.

And a total of 82% felt smokers who developed lung cancer had as much right to a hospital bed as those who developed other forms of cancer.

The cancer campaign's head of clinical programmes, Dr Richard Sullivan, said: "It may as well be invisible for all the public attention it gets.

'Better treatment'

"This poll shows most people feel that, for smokers, it's a self-inflicted disease which, we believe, helps explain its lack of profile.

"We want people to start demanding better treatment and better resources for the disease - particularly as the overwhelming majority of people do not want lung cancer patients to be discriminated against."

The charity's director general, Professor Gordon McVie, said it was vital that lung cancer sufferers demanded better treatment.

More than 90% of lung cancers are caused by smoking
The Scottish figures form part of a nationwide poll in which Mori questioned 2,024 adults throughout the UK between 23 and 28 November.

Survival rates for all the most common cancers - including breast, prostate and bowel - are at least six times higher than for lung cancer in Scotland.

Dr Sullivan said: "There has been a wall of silence surrounding lung cancer for far too long.

"We need to break this down and show that we do care for patients with the disease - regardless of whether or not they developed it because of smoking."

About 4,600 people in Scotland develop lung cancer every year, and the disease kills about 4,000 people annually. More than 90% of lung cancers are caused by smoking.

Lung cancer has been the biggest killer of women in Scotland for the past eight years.

And campaigners have warned that with an increasing number of young girls taking up smoking, the figures are likely to get worse.

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See also:

14 Dec 00 | Health
Anti-smoking campaign cuts deaths
25 Sep 00 | Scotland
Lung cancer tops women death table
13 Dec 00 | Health
Tough tobacco warnings approved
21 Nov 00 | Health
Nicotine patches 'should be free'
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