‘Life with PF’ Campaign Created for Awareness in Canada

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by Mary Chapman |

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For Pulmonary Fibrosis Awareness Month, held each September, the biopharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim Canada has created the Life with PF campaign to help patients better understand the stages of this progressive disease and to empower them to obtain much-needed care.

The initiative, which is aimed at residents of Canada, features a website that includes information about pulmonary fibrosis (PF) and tips about how to manage it.

“We are deeply committed to transforming the lives of patients in areas of significant unmet medical need,” Andrea Sambati, president and CEO of Boehringer Ingelheim Canada, said in a press release. “By providing education and awareness of pulmonary fibrosis, we can help patients make empowered decisions to manage their disease progression and keep doing the things they enjoy.”

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It is estimated that as many as 30,000 Canadians have PF, a disorder that causes a buildup of scar tissue in the lungs that worsens over time, making it hard to breathe and significantly affecting life quality.

According to Boehringer, many newly diagnosed patients, as well as their caregivers, are unsure how PF will progress, which results in feelings of being unprepared. The Life with PF campaign seeks to promote understanding of the disease’s stages so they can better understand, advocate for, and improve overall care.

“PF is a progressive disease that becomes worse over time,” said Sharon Lee, executive director of the Canadian Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation. “While there is no cure for PF, early detection and care can help slow the progression of the disease to preserve lung function so that those living with PF can spend more time with their loved ones. This can only start with a heightened awareness of PF.”

The campaign’s website lists many PF symptoms, which may worsen as the disease progresses to more advanced stages. These can include shortness of breath, a dry cough, unintended and gradual weight loss, fatigue and weakness, chest discomfort or pain, and finger clubbing — a condition in which fingertips acquire a drumstick-like shape.

While a traditional PF staging system based on lung function tests has been used by physicians for years, some scientists believe its use has limitations. Thus, scientists are developing new staging methods that will include factors such as patient age, any recent respiratory hospitalization, and possible biomarkers.

Also, while many PF symptoms ultimately will progress, it is important to note that such progression is not linear and each patient has a unique experience.

The Life with PF website also offers a listing of some definitions that pertain to PF, as well as other medical conditions associated with it. There also is an explanation of available treatments and a downloadable set of questions patients may want to ask their doctor, including how symptoms will be monitored, and whether they need to change their diet.

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