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Stop
Asking the
Wrong Question

When someone gets lung cancer, they’re quickly confronted with “Did you smoke?” The answer is too often used as a qualifier for how much care and compassion is given. That’s because the question is rooted in a long-standing stigma based on the myth that lung cancer is a “smoker’s disease.” It’s not.

If you have lungs, you can get lung cancer.

The stigma implies some people deserve to get sick. That’s wrong and unfair. Without exception, everyone deserves the same compassion and care.

The right question is: Why do people with lung cancer not have a proper fighting chance when it comes to research, treatment and support?

"Look beyond the lung cancer and see the person"
Joanna, Caregiver Advocate

Change the conversation from blame and shame to facts.

The stigma of lung cancer adds barriers and burden to an already overwhelming situation for the over 29,000 Canadians diagnosed with lung cancer every year.  

Survival rates have barely improved in decades with only 19% living five years past diagnosis. More people are expected to die from lung cancer than from colorectal, breast and pancreatic cancer combined. 

Every year, we lose over 21,000 Canadians  to lung cancer – that’s 58 families forced to say goodbye every single day. Still, despite being by far the largest cancer killer, lung cancer is the least funded.

Please join our fight to end the blame and shame of lung cancer to give people living with the disease  the same fighting chance as anyone else facing a cancer diagnosis. 

Donations are  urgently needed for lung cancer research. Your support will fund an innovative joint study by the Lung Health Foundation and Lung Cancer Canada aimed at ending the stigma that kills. Your generosity is deeply appreciated.

Donate today

Alan Soon

Alan Soon

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Lorne Cochrane

Lorne Cochrane

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Joey Neale

Joey Neale

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You Can Help

You can help change the conversation from blame and shame to one that gives those living with lung cancer a fighting chance. 

  • Donate to lung cancer research.
  • Sign-up for our email newsletter to stay informed. 
  • Follow us on social media. Like, share and mention our posts asking the right questions. Use the hashtags #TheWrongQuestion and #TheRightQuestion so we can join your discussion too. 
  • Stop asking “Did you smoke?” Lead with care and compassion instead.

Keep In Touch

Subscribe for email updates about lung cancer and how you can help.

About The Campaign

Each day, 80 Canadians are diagnosed with lung cancer. Sadly, instead of being offered support and help, many face stigma from a community that blames them for their disease. 

Whether someone with lung cancer has smoked or not, they deserve our compassion and care. They deserve to have the same chance at life as anyone else dealing with an illness. We need to do better in making this a reality for all Canadians living with lung cancer. That is why we launched this campaign.

Stop Asking the Wrong Question uncovers the true impact of lung cancer stigma on those living with an already terrible disease. 

No matter age, gender or health history – lung cancer doesn’t discriminate, and neither should we.

We asked 18 brave Canadians who have experienced lung cancer to share the toll stigma has had on them. Their heartfelt stories paint a picture of what our words and actions are doing to those in their moment of most need.

These are real people who have experienced and understand the real effects of stigma. Their ask of us is simple – to give those living with lung cancer a fighting chance.  


What we don't talk about

Each day, 80 Canadians are diagnosed with lung cancer. Sadly, instead of being offered support and help, many face stigma from a community that blames them for their disease. 

Stop Asking the Wrong Question uncovers the true impact of lung cancer stigma on those living with an already terrible disease. 

1 in 4 are silenced 

by shame

Lung Health Foundation

The Lung Health Foundation is dedicated to ending gaps in the prevention, diagnosis, and care of lung disease in Canada. We invest in the future by driving groundbreaking research, and we give patients and their families the programs and support they need today.

Lung health starts now!
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Lung Cancer Canada

Lung Cancer Canada is a national charitable organization that serves as Canada’s leading resource for lung cancer education, patient support, research and advocacy. Based in Toronto, Ontario, Lung Cancer Canada has a wide reach that includes both regional and pan-Canadian initiatives. Lung Cancer Canada is a member of the Global Lung Cancer Coalition and is the only organization in Canada focused exclusively on lung cancer. 

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Our Partners

Thank you to our funding partners. Your support helps us fight to end the stigma of lung cancer and change the conversation to how we can care and support patients and their families. 

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