FIRS members are organising this campaign because there is an urgent need for public and political awareness about the importance of lung health. The lack of awareness is a barrier to progress in the diagnosis, treatment and care of individuals suffering from lung diseases. Hundreds of millions of people around the world suffer every day from treatable and preventable respiratory diseases. Respiratory diseases rank second (after cardiovascular diseases) in terms of mortality, incidence, prevalence and costs. COPD, pneumonia, tuberculosis (TB) and lung cancer are the main respiratory causes of death worldwide.
According to the latest WHO estimates (2007), currently 300 million people have asthma, 210 million people have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) while countless millions have allergic rhinitis and other often under diagnosed chronic respiratory diseases. By 2020, out of 68.3 million deaths worldwide, 11.9 million will be caused by lung disease.Our patients and the patient organisations with whom we work with have inspired us to address this important issue. Asthma, lung cancer and (COPD) and other diseases of the lung, affect every family worldwide. They cause much individual suffering and have a major economic impact, due to healthcare costs and time off work. Yet the overall burden of respiratory disease is inadequately addressed and likely to be severely underestimated. All these factors impede support for research into lung disease and the translation of discoveries into better diagnostic methods and effective treatments.