Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Who Knew: November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month

     Until a few months ago, I didn't know that November is LUNG CANCER AWARENESS MONTH.  Apparently, not many other folks know this either. On October 1st, the first day of Breast Cancer Awareness month, there were splashy pink television, magazine, radio and newspaper public announcements letting us know how common breast cancer is, how to get screening mammograms and where to seek health care services.  They are wonderful notices...women telling women to take care of themselves. The iconic PINK RIBBON speaks for itself. Other than from lung cancer survivors, on November 1st, I didn't see any bump in lung cancer public announcements. 

     I've wondered why lung cancer doesn't get the same attention that breast cancer does. I've wondered because: 
  • ...lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among both men and women,
  • ...it causes more deaths than breast, colon, prostate and pancreatic cancers  COMBINED,
  • ...20% of women with lung cancer never smoked, (like me.)
  • ...the diagnosis rate is increasing among women,
  • ...and, I have lung cancer.



5-year Survival Rates

         Lung cancer, overall,  17%
                 (Stage 4, the kind I have, 2%)
         Colon cancer, 65%
         Breast cancer, 90%
         Prostate cancer, 99%

      The lack of awareness hurts those of us with this disease.  There are fewer research dollars available to the scientists who are working on new treatments and potential cures.  Public funding and private donations are not nearly as robust as with other, more recognized, cancers.  

     This lack of awareness also hurts those of you who may get lung cancer in the  future.  Heightened awareness in the medical and public health arenas will drive the need for early-stage lung cancer detection through population screening programs.  

     The other factor causing malaise on the subject, in the general population, is the stigma that those of us with lung cancer are smokers.  Although not often, since I was diagnosed I've been asked several times if I'm a smoker.  Following my, "No, never" response, I usually add something like, "But if I did, I don't think I would deserve this."  

     I've seen a few lung cancer ribbon colors...white, pearl and transparent.  I've read that, initially, the ribbon was transparent, to symbolize that this disease is invisible.  It's the hidden or silent cancer among us.  Over time, the ribbon has taken on a visible color, pearl and white.  

     I know that my family and friends are well aware of lung cancer, now.  If everyone could tell one other person about my story, then perhaps, slowly, the word can get out - and one day, there can be a cure.  


3 comments:

Ari Hermansyah said...

i agree with your submitions, Good Luck And Always Success ! Obat Amandel | Obat Vertigo

Luna O. said...

Thank you, Ari.

Cameron Von St James said...

Hello!

I have a quick question for you, could you email me when you have a chance? Thanks! –Cameron

cvonstjames(at)gmail(dot)com