On World Lung Day, we call for action to tackle global inequity in respiratory health

    On World Lung Day, 25 September 2022, the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) calls on governments worldwide to address stark global inequalities in respiratory health.

    The COVID-19 pandemic may have subsided, but its impact highlights a global lung health crisis that has not gone away.

    Respiratory illnesses affect people in all countries, but disproportionally in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) where resources for research, prevention, and management are scarce. To address such inequity, we must look beyond medical care to the social and environmental determinants of health such as tobacco use, air pollution, climate change and poverty.

    Five respiratory diseases are the commonest causes of illness and death worldwide - chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, acute respiratory tract infection or pneumonia, tuberculosis (TB) and lung cancer.

     The FIRS  Global Impact of Respiratory Disease report shows the immense burden of these lung diseases:

     

    • An estimated 200 million people have COPD, of which about 3.2 million die each year, making it the third-leading cause of death worldwide.

     

     

    • With more than 2.2 million new cases of lung cancer in 2020 and 1.80 million deaths, globally, lung cancer is responsible for 1 in 4 cancer deaths.

     

    • Lower respiratory tract infection or pneumonia is a leading cause of mortality, accounting for more than 2.4 million deaths every year, particularly among those in LMICs. COVID-19 has dramatically increased deaths from pneumonia globally.

     

    • In children under 5 years of age, pneumonia is the leading single cause of death outside the neonatal period.

     

    FIRS asks that governments, health care workers and researchers focus on three key issues to help reduce respiratory health inequalities:

    • The global burden of the major respiratory diseases and the impact of COVID-19;
    • The importance of early detection and screening;
    • Reducing inequalities in screening, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of lung conditions.

    FIRS President Professor Heather Zar said:

    “The theme for this World Lung Day is Lung Health for All. That’s why we are calling on governments worldwide to work together to build equitable capacity, infrastructure, and resources.

     “COVID has highlighted global inequities in access to effective strategies for respiratory health. We have very effective interventions to prevent and treat respiratory diseases, but these are unavailable or unaffordable in many parts of the world.  Reducing inequality requires an integrated approach which incorporates social, environmental, economic and medical initiatives. We have effective interventions – but we must use these more equitably.”

     

    Media contact: Fiona Salter This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

     

    Further information

    The Global Impact of Respiratory Disease report outlines major causes of respiratory disease, including lung cancer, and lays out recommendations for global action.

    FIRS Lung Health Fact Sheet is a quick reference guide to the impact of the ‘Big Five’ respiratory diseases.

    Join us for the first Forum of International Respiratory Societies/ World Health Organization joint World Lung Day webinar - Respiratory disease in the era of COVID – a global perspective on 22 September, 14:00 - 15:30 CEST. Register here https://bit.ly/FIRSWHO

     

    About the Forum of International Respiratory Societies
    The Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) is an organisation comprised of the world's leading international respiratory societies working together to improve lung health globally. The goal of FIRS is to unify and enhance efforts to improve lung health through the combined work of its more than 70,000 members globally.

     

    FIRS comprises the American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST), American Thoracic Society (ATS), the Asian Pacific Society of Respirology (APSR), Asociación Latino Americana De Tórax (ALAT), European Respiratory Society (ERS), International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases (The Union), Pan African Thoracic Society (PATS), the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA), and the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD).

    [i] https://www.thelancet.com/pb-assets/Lancet/gbd/summaries/diseases/asthma.pdf

     

    [ii] https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789240037021

     

     

     

     

    World Lung Day Partner Events

    Our World Lung Day partners are respiratory societies, patient organisations, individuals and businesses spreading the message of lung health around the world. Here's how they are celebrating World Lung Day.

    A national day for respiratory health in Italy - Società Italiana di Pneumologia

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    For Italy's National Lung Day Società Italiana di Pneumologia is organising regional events, entertainment and information days in public squares and medical clinics nationwide.

    See more at: www.sipirs.it

    3.6 million steps for the Turkish Respiratory Society 

    TRS launched its respiratory health campaign on the 52nd anniversary of the society's foundation with the message "We Walk with Endless Breath for a Healthy Future" to raise awareness about lung health and respiratory diseases. From it's curtain-raiser on World Lung Day to the finish on World COPD Day (16 November), the goal for participants is to have walked 3.6 million steps.

    Find out more: Turkish Respiratory Society

    Irish Lung Health charities are urging the public to “Love Your Lungs”

    Ahead of World Lung Day on Sunday September 25,  a coalition of Irish Lung Health charities is urging the public to “Love Your Lungs”. The charities include the Alpha-1 Foundation Ireland, the Asthma Society of Ireland, COPD Support Ireland, Cystic Fibrosis Ireland, the Irish Institute of Clinical Measurement Physiologists, the Irish Lung Fibrosis Association, the Irish Sleep Society, and the Irish Thoracic Society.

    Find out more: Irish Thoracic Society

    Healthy Lungs for Life : testing lung health in Barcelona

    Great to see people in Barcelona wanting to learn more about their lung health at this Healthy Lungs for Life spirometry event organised by the European Lung Foundation (ELF). 

    The Healthy Lungs for Life campaign is run by the ELF and the European Respiratory Society (ERS). The campaign is aimed at everyone whether you have a lung condition or not. It focusses on key themes to raise awareness of the best ways we can keep our lungs healthy.

    Spreading the word among doctors and professionals in Bangladesh


    The Bangladesh Lung Foundation is celebrating World Lung Day with workshops on chest radiology and a poster campaign to create awareness among doctors and other health care providers about lung health.

    Healthy Lungs Nepal: flash mobs to video memes


    Community awareness events, video competitions and flash mobs are just some of the creative ways Healthy Lungs Nepal celebrates World Lung Day.

    Minister joins crowds at lung health event in Maldives


    Event on lung health and vaccination at a packed social centre to mark World Lung Day in Maldives, attended by Minister Aishath Nahula.  

     

    Philippine College of Chest Physicians celebrate for a month


    Healthy Lungs for All Filipinos! A video for National Lung Month and World Lung Day made by the Philippine College of Chest Physicians. Keep watching the the dancing doctors!

    The Pan African Thoracic Society Lung Health Initiative


    The Pan African Thoracic Society Lung Health Initiative (PALI) is supporting 10 events, taking place in seven countries, providing training to healthcare workers, education to the public, lung function testing, exercise promotion, TB screening, and smoking cessation assistance on WLD 2022. 

    See more information here.

    World Lung Day 2022 Partners

    We would like to thank all the wonderful organisations who have pledged to support World Lung Day (WLD) this year.

    Want to join us? Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and find out about becoming a World Lung Day partner. 

    Lung health associations encourage global awareness and early detection for World Lung Cancer Day

    In support of World Lung Cancer Day on August 1, the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) stresses the importance of symptom awareness and early detection to diagnose and treat lung cancer.

    While lung cancer is not the most prevalent cancer (second to breast cancer), it is the most common cause of cancer death. With more than 2.2 million new cases of lung cancer in 2020 and 1.80 million deaths, globally, lung cancer is responsible for 1 in 4 cancer deaths. According to the World Health Organization, lung cancer kills more people yearly than breast, colon and prostate cancers combined.

    “World Lung Cancer Day is an opportunity for all members of the Forum of International Respiratory Societies to collectively increase awareness of symptoms and the use of screening not only for lung cancer, but for lung health generally, as well as to highlight smoking as a major risk for disease,” says FIRS President Professor Heather Zar. “Avoiding smoking and smoke exposure is key to reduce illness from lung cancer and other lung diseases. Knowing the early signs of lung cancer and using appropriate screening is key for early detection, to reduce illness and mortality.”

    To recognize lung cancer earlier, it is crucial to be aware of the symptoms. The most common symptoms of lung cancer are:

    • A cough that does not go away or gets worse
    • Coughing up blood or rust-colored sputum (spit or phlegm)
    • Chest pain that is often worse with deep breathing, coughing, or laughing
    • Hoarseness
    • Loss of appetite
    • Unexplained weight loss
    • Shortness of breath
    • Feeling tired or weak
    • Recurring infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia
    • New onset of wheezing

    In addition to knowing the signs of lung cancer, equitable access to screening options worldwide is vital for reducing lung cancer deaths through early detection and treatment.

    To identify and diagnose lung cancer in its earlier stages, it is recommended to seek lung cancer screening with a low-dose tomography (also known as low-dose CT or LDCT) where available. If the individual is an eligible smoker or a former smoker, lung cancer screening is recommended even if they are not experiencing any signs or symptoms.

    Resources:

    The Global Impact of Respiratory Disease report outlines major causes of respiratory disease, including lung cancer, and lays out recommendations for global action.

    A complete list of recommended guidelines for lung cancer screening, “Screening for Lung Cancer CHEST Guideline and Expert Panel Report,” can be read through the journal CHEST®.

     

    About the Forum of International Respiratory Societies
    The Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) is an organisation comprised of the world's leading international respiratory societies working together to improve lung health globally. The goal of FIRS is to unify and enhance efforts to improve lung health through the combined work of its more than 70,000 members globally.

     

    FIRS comprises the American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST), American Thoracic Society (ATS), the Asian Pacific Society of Respirology (APSR), Asociación Latino Americana De Tórax (ALAT), European Respiratory Society (ERS), International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases (The Union), Pan African Thoracic Society (PATS), the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA), and the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD).

     

    World Lung Day 2022: Lung Health For All

    World Lung Day, 25 September, is a day for lung health advocacy and action. Join us to promote better lung health globally.

    Lung Health For All

    The COVID pandemic has highlighted stark inequalities in lung health, so our theme this year is Lung Health for All. We will look at what can be done to close those gaps, focussing on: 

    • The global burden of the major respiratory diseases and the impact of COVID, with a focus on lower and middle income countries
    • The importance of early detection and screening
    • Reducing inequalities in screening, diagnosis and treatment of chronic lung conditions

     

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    The new FIRS/WHO webinar series: Respiratory disease in the era of COVID – a global perspective

    We had a great response to the inaugural FIRS/WHO World Lung Day webinar series launched on 22 September.

    FIRS and WHO gathered experts from around the world to discuss the burden of respiratory diseases globally, what can be done to combat respiratory disease in the era of COVID, and how we can address unequal access to prevention and treatment in lower and middle-income countries.

    If you missed it you can access it here or download it here.

    Join us! Become a World Lung Day partner

    If you haven't joined yet, sign up as a WLD partner by emailing fiona.salter@firsnet.org

    All our partners are included on our partners page. 

    Please help us raise the profile of World Lung Day by sharing the 'Save the Date' graphic on your channels.
    Download the graphic

    Don't forget your 'Proud to be a World Lung Day Partner' graphic, add your own logo to the circle and share on social media. 
    Download the logo

    Please use #WorldLungDay.

     
     

    Healthy Lungs for Life events around the world - winners announced!

    For 2022 FIRS has joined European Lung Foundation (ELF) Healthy Lungs for Life public awareness campaign to highlight the importance of lung health through a range of events, projects and promotional activities - this year with a focus on lower and middle income countries and on climate change. 

    10 grants have been awarded to the organisers of lung health awareness events happening across the globe. Read more about them here.

    We will be showcasing local, regional and national public education activities around World Lung Day. Share a picture of your event or video and show others that you support #WorldLungDay

    World Lung Day Editorials

    Read expert insights.

    American Journal of Physiology-Lung Cellular and Molecular PhysiologyMark Cohen, Stephanie M. Levine, Heather J. Zar World Lung Day: impact of “the big 5 lung diseases” in the context of COVID-19 

    FIRS Lung Health Fact Sheet a brief guide to the impact of the 'big five' respiratory diseases.

    The American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. The Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD). Lung Health for All: Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease and World Lung Day 2022 

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