Why lung health matters

To stay alive, we need oxygen. Without our lungs, we can’t get the oxygen we need. If your lungs are damaged, you can’t breathe. If you can’t breathe, you can have problems doing even the smallest task. This is why lung health matters.

“We know too well what it feels like to go from being a person to being a patient. There is no greater change.” 

Taskforce patient representatives

Lung disease is a top killer in the UK

Every year 115,000 people die because of lung disease. At least 1 in 5 people will develop a lung condition during their lifetime. Every year, 700,000 hospital admissions are down to lung disease. The UK has the fourth highest mortality rate from lung disease in Europe.

Illustration showing alarm clock that says 115,000 people die each year form lung disease

Lung disease isn’t seen as a priority

In the past, lung disease hasn’t had the same priority as diseases like cancer, heart disease and stroke. Lung disease is often invisible, which means that you can’t obviously see when people are unwell.

There has been little progress

Death rates from lung disease haven’t improved in 10 years. Other diseases have seen significant improvements. The NHS spends £9.9 billion each year on lung disease. That makes it the fourth most costly disease area.

Lung health is an equalities issue

We know that where you live, how much money you have, and your social standing all have an impact on how healthy your lungs are. That means if you’re less well off, you might have poorer health and a shorter life. For example, someone from Liverpool is 94% more likely to die of lung cancer than the average person in Great Britain. We think that’s unacceptable and must change.

“Lung health just isn’t taken as seriously as a number of other conditions. It’s a big killer and very prevalent, yet we are not doing the best we can to help patients with respiratory conditions.”

Dr Noel Baxter, PCRS

Learn more about the Taskforce for Lung Health.