It is way past time to address the lack of public awareness, incorrect perceptions, and stigmas around Lung Cancer. The CNN article linked below hits many of the high points. November is Lung Cancer awareness month, share the word, educate a friend, get involved!
As a surgeon at MD Anderson explained to me “in some respects we are victims of our own success. In the 70’s and beyond we used lung cancer as a tool to drive anti-smoking campaigns, successfully. So much so that the common perception to this day is that if you get lung cancer you brought it on yourself by smoking”. The reality, if you have lungs you can get lung cancer. And as the article mentions 60% of the new lung cancer patients in 2012 either never smoked or have not smoked in 25+ years!
I am one of those people. And even though I am relatively young, 47 at time of diagnosis, exercise regularly, and had a better than average diet…I got lung cancer. And this is not a cancer you want, ever! It is deadly. Even with the best prognosis, such as mine (Stage1B), the 5 year survival rates are still only 60-80% and there is a 33% chance of re-occurrence. 164,000 people will die of lung cancer this year, 1.4 million worldwide!
We need to catch it earlier, we need better screening, we need better awareness. And most importantly we need more funds invested in research and promising new screening and treatment techniques.
It is time to drag lung cancer out of the shadows! With awareness, focus, and investment we can improve the survival rates, and we can fight this deadly and silent killer.