Prevalence of lung disease
- Lung disease is a significant and growing health issue for Australians and it is estimated that more than 7 million Australians aged 35 years and over may be at serious risk of lung disease15. In fact:
- More than 9,100 Australians are diagnosed with lung cancer each year16.
- More women die of lung cancer than breast cancer16 and the number of new lung cancer cases for women has been projected to increase by 38% from 2,891 in 2001 to 4,001 in 201117.
- The number of new lung cancer cases for men is projected to increase by 17% from 5,384 in 2001 to 6,301 in 201117.
- COPD is more common in any year than most common types of cancer, road traffic accidents, heart disease or diabetes19.
- Approximately 2.1 million Australians have some form of COPD19 20. By 2050, this figure is expected to more than double to 4.5 million Australians19.
- Of those with COPD, 1.2 million Australians19 20 have COPD (Stages II – IV), a stage at which symptoms are already affecting their daily lives.
- Nearly 900,000 Australians19 20 have a mild form (Stage I) of COPD where symptoms are often ignored. Many of these will go on to develop more severe COPD if they do not take appropriate action to manage their condition.
ILD and orphan lung diseases
- There is no current register of people with ILD or rare lung disease in Australasia and therefore the incidence of these conditions is unknown.
- The Australian Lung Foundation in conjunction with the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand (TSANZ) has created a Registry to collect data on the incidence and prevalence of these diseases in Australasia. Data collection is currently focused on 16 different types of orphan lung disease, although there are many more.
- Viral infections of the upper airway affect nearly every Australian. Although these infections are usually just an irritation for the individual, they are associated with substantial costs to the community in terms of hospitalisation, absenteeism and loss of productivity9.
Burden of lung disease
Each year, lung disease causes nearly 350,000 hospitalisations in Australia21.
- COPD is the second leading cause of avoidable hospital admissions in Australia22.
- Upper respiratory tract infections account for 3-4 million visits to GPs each year (ie: six per 100 of all GP consultations) and cost more than $A150m in direct costs9.
- Between 50 – 90% of hospital admissions for bronchiolitis and 5 – 40% of hospital admissions for pneumonia are due to respiratory syncitial virus infection9.
- Lung cancer remains the third leading cause of cancer death since 1998. Deaths due to this cause have increased from 6,742 in 1998 to 7,626 in 2007, representing an increase of 13%. During the same period, death due to lung cancer also increased to 5.5%18.
- Health system expenditure on lung cancer was over $107 million per annum in 1993-94, with hospital care alone costing the Australian economy $81 million23.
Approximately 14% of all deaths each year in Australia are a result of lung disease1.
- More than 7,500 Australians die from lung cancer each year – that equates to 20 people per day, every day of the year16.
- COPD is a leading cause of death and disease burden after heart disease, stroke and cancer18
In terms of economic burden of lung disease in Australia:
- COPD is more costly overall per case than cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis or arthritis19.
- In 2008, the total economic impact of COPD is estimated to be $98.2 billion of which $8.8 billion is attributed to financial costs and $89.4 billion to the loss of wellbeing19.
- The total annual health expenditure on lung cancer is estimated to be $136 million by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare24.
- Health system expenditure on lung cancer was over $107 million per annum in 1993-94, with hospital care alone costing the Australian economy $81 million24.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics. Underlying causes of deaths in Australia. 2009
- McKenzie DK, Frith PA, Burdon et al. The COPDX Plan: Australian and New Zealand Guidelines for the Management of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 2008. Available at www.copdx.org.au
- Cancer Council NSW. Understanding Lung Cancer: a guide for people with cancer, their families. October 2007. Available at: www.cancercouncil.com.au
- Chapman T. Cleveland Medical Clinic: Interstitial lung disease management. Last accessed September 2009. Available at: www.clevelandclinicmeded.com/medicalpubs/diseasemanagement/pulmonary/inter
- Zurynski YA et al. Rare childhood disease: how should we respond? Arch Dis Child. 2008; 93: 1071 -1074
- Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension Information. How is PHA diagnosed?. Last accessed September 2009. Available at: www.pah-info.com
- The Australian Lung Foundation. Respiratory infections disease burdens in Australia. March 2007.
- World Health Organisation. Asthma definition. Last accessed September 2009. Available at: www.who.int/respiratory/asthma/definition/en/
- The Australian Lung Foundation. Chronic cough in adults. Last accessed September 2009. Available at: www.nevdgp.org.au/info/lungf/chronic-cough-adults-health.html
- Gaine SP, Rubin LJ. Primary Pulmonary Hypertension. Lancet 1998; 352: 719-25
- Barst RJ et al. Diagnosis and differential assessment of pulmonary arterial hypertension. J Am Coll Cardiol 2004; 43(Suppl S): 40S-47S
- Better Health Channel. Lung Cancer. Last accessed September 2009. Available at: www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Lung_cancer
- Petty T. The Rising Epidemic of COPD in Women: Why women are more susceptible; how treatment should differ. Women’s Health in Primary Care Dec 1999;2(12)
- The Australian Lung Foundation. Adult Interstitial Lung Disease. May 2008
- Galaxy Research. Galaxy Telephone Omnibus Lung Health Study. September 2009
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Cancer in Australia: an overview 2008
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Cancer incidence projections Australia 2002-2011
- Australian Bureau of Statistics, Causes of Death, Australia, 2007 (3303.0)
- Access Economics. Economic impact of COPD and cost effective solutions. 2008
- Buist AS, McBurnie MA, Vollmer WM et al. International variation in the prevalence of COPD (The BOLD Study): a population-based prevalence study. Lancet 1 September 2007; 370: 741-750
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Principal diagnosis data cubes: Separation statistics by principal diagnosis in ICD-10-AM, Australia 2006-2007
- Page A, Abrose S, Glover J et al. Atlas of Avoidable Hospitalisations in Australia: ambulatory care-sensitive conditions. Adelaide PHIDU. University of Adelaide.2007
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Australia’s Health 2008, Canberra May 2008.
- Australian Lung Foundation. Case Statement Lung Cancer Update for 2006