eISSN: 2450-5722
ISSN: 2450-5927
Journal of Health Inequalities
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vol. 3
Special paper

The eradication of lung cancer is possible. A biographical note

Renata Furman

Editor-in-chief of “Służba Zdrowia”, Warsaw, Poland
J Health Inequal 2017; 3 (2): 147-156
Online publish date: 2017/12/30
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This article is based on a chapter of Renata Furman’s book Drogi do Onkologii (Paths to oncology). It outlines a biography of Witold Zatoński, from his childhood, through his years of education, medical studies, and finally his career in medicine, research, and advocacy. The most important part of his professional life (1965-2017) has been devoted to research and prevention activities related to lung cancer and other tobacco-related diseases, as well as the health education of Poles. A rapid growth in smoking prevalence in Poland after the Second World War led to a dramatic increase in lung cancer incidence and mortality, first in men and later in women. Since the beginning of the 1990s, a broad anti-smoking public health campaign in which Zatoński was actively involved (including the Polish Parliament’s decision to introduce the 1995 Anti-Tobacco Law) have led to the reversal of smoking prevalence among the Polish population, as well as a decline in lung cancer incidence and mortality, which continues until today. This article relates Zatoński’s experiences and observations from this period in Poland’s fight against lung cancer. According to The Lancet (13 May 2017-GBD-2015-1) in the years 1990-2015 Poland had one of the fastest smoking prevalence declines in Europe. Similarly, a steady lung cancer mortality decline, also one of the fastest in Europe, was observed in Poland in men from the 1990s and in women after 2000. If current trends continue, optimal conditions for the eradication of lung cancer in Poland can be achieved by the year 2030.

public health, health literacy, education, research, smoking, tobacco-related diseases, lung cancer

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