Sufferers with lung cancer 'get less sympathy'
One in five people in Ireland has less sympathy for someone with lung cancer compared to patients with other forms of the disease.
The research showed that countries where fewer people smoke had a higher proportion of those who said they did not have the same compassion for lung cancer patients.
The findings emerged in a study of 25 countries from the Global Lung Cancer Coalition, which examine attitudes towards lung cancer.
The less compassionate attitude towards patients with lung cancer here is in line with other countries where rates are around 21pc. It found men and younger age groups have a harsher attitude than women and older people.
Aoife McNamara, cancer information manager at the Irish Cancer Society, said: "No one should ever feel blamed for having cancer.
"Sadly, these new statistics would suggest that lung-cancer patients are treated differently by the public, compared to people with other types of cancer.
"Any sense of shame can hold someone back from seeking medical help, so it's hugely important that we change our attitudes towards lung cancer."
The findings have led to a call for action to reduce stigma around lung cancer to prevent people being ashamed to seek medical help for their symptoms.
Pamela Gallagher, professor of psychology at DCU who is to carry out research into the needs of lung cancer patients, said: "Living with lung cancer and its effects can be difficult for patients and caregivers, often requiring support to meet a range of physical and emotional needs.
"Our research will identify what these needs are and how services from the Irish Cancer Society can support them.
"Already research has shown higher levels of psychological distress among people with lung cancer compared to other cancer types."