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%
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 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.