March 28, 2017

Politicians targeted during lung health blitz

As the largest gathering of lung health experts in Australasia, the TSANZSRS Annual Scientific Meeting, descends upon Canberra, Lung Foundation Australia is taking to Parliament House on Tuesday 28 March 2017 where they will test the lung health of politicians and staff in a bid to raise awareness about the seriousness and prevalence of lung disease.

Lung disease affects a staggering one in four Australians, yet research has shown more than 50% of the population rarely or never think about their lung health. In addition, lung disease struggles to attract the same level of research funding received by other disease areas.

Ms Kaye Powell, a Canberra resident and member of the Lung Foundation Australia Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD) Patient Advisory Committee, has been living with COPD, a progressive long term lung disease which causes shortness of breath, for over 4 years, and knows firsthand the importance of recognising symptoms to enable early diagnosis.

“Symptoms of lung disease tend to creep up slowly and people often automatically adjust their daily activities to accommodate or reduce their symptoms rather than getting help,” Ms Powell said.

“I recall dismissing things like not being able to walk up the stairs without puffing thinking it must be related to fitness or just getting older.

“It wasn’t until I had pneumonia frequently and the doctors did a CAT scan that it was picked up.

“People with chronic lung disease who understand their condition and who are actively involved in managing it enjoy a better quality of life and have fewer complications. So the earlier you are diagnosed, the sooner you are able to take control, particularly with information and support from Lung Foundation Australia.”

Ms Powell said she is looking forward to the opportunity to help raise awareness about the seriousness of this issue at Lung Foundation Australia’s Lung Health Test event on 28 March 2017.

Chief Executive Officer of Lung Foundation Australia, Ms Heather Allan, said the event at Parliament House is part of a broader Canberra-based awareness campaign encouraging people to check in with their lung health.

“One in seven deaths in Australian is due to lung disease, yet many of us continue to ignore the signs or symptoms, often not doing anything about it for far too long,” Ms Allan said.

“Contrary to what people think, breathlessness is not a normal part of ageing. If you are more breathless than others your age or have had a cough for more than three weeks, see your doctor about your lung health.

“I also encourage everyone to take a quick and easy two minute online Lung Health Check at,” she said.

“We’re all are used to thinking about our heart, skin and breast health but our lungs are equally important. It’s time we made our lung health a priority as well,” she said.

Ms Allan hopes the visit to Parliament House will raise awareness and trigger more support for lung disease.

To check the health of your lungs or donate to Lung Foundation Australia, simply visit

Lung Foundation Australia is the only national charity dedicated to supporting anyone with a lung disease.

Event Details

When: 10am-1pm, Tuesday 28 March 2017
Where: The vacant room next to Westpac Bank, Parliament House, Canberra
Photo /filming opportunity: 11:40am with Ms Heather Allan CEO Lung Foundation Australia, Steve Georganas MP, John Alexander MP, Kaye Powell COPD patient and Canberra resident.
Photos will also be available after the event.

For media enquiries, please contact:

Danielle Aami
Senior Manager – Marketing and Communications
(07) 3251 3643  0421 157  860


Lung Foundation Australia is the only national charity dedicated to supporting anyone with a lung disease. Since 1990, we have been the national first point-of-call for patients, their families, carers, health professionals and the general community.

Our Mission

Our Mission is to improve lung health and reduce the impact of lung disease for all Australians by:

  • Supporting those with lung disease, their families and carers.
  • Driving world class research.
  • Promoting lung health and timely diagnosis of lung disease.
  • Providing clinical support and education.
  • Promoting equitable access to evidence-based care.

The organisation relies on the generosity of the community through donations, membership, bequests, grants, and support from business and industry. Find out more at

Quick Facts

  • There are over 30 types of lung disease
  • 1 in 4 Australians has a lung disease1
  • 1 in 7 deaths are a result of lung disease2
  • Lung disease is responsible for more than 10% of Australia’s overall health burden2
  • Lung cancer kills more Australians than breast, prostate and ovarian cancers combined3
  • 25 people die each day from lung cancer3
  • 1 in 3 women and 1 in 10 men diagnosed with lung cancer will have never smoked3
  • Over 50% of Australian adults rarely or never think about their lung health4
  • Publicity, empathy, research and funding for lung disease in Australia remain extremely low.


1 AIHW, 2016,

2 Lung Disease in Australia, 2014, Woolcock Institute of Medical Research

3 Lung Foundation Australia, Improving outcomes for Australians with lung cancer: A Call to Action (2016)

4 Galaxy Research Omnibus, January 2014 (wave 1)