November marks the 16th year of recognizing Lung Cancer Awareness Month for me. Before 2002, I never thought about lung cancer or recognized November for anything except for Thanksgiving turkey and black Friday shopping.
In 2002 my dad had a backache that wouldn’t go away. After several specialist visits, scans and biopsies, he was diagnosed with extensive stage lung cancer. Our family was shocked and devastated. With very few treatments available, my dad lived 11 months and 21 days.
My life changed when I became a cancer caregiver and again after we lost my dad. Most people don’t know that 1 in 16 people, regardless of smoking history, will be diagnosed with lung cancer or that our country loses 422 people per day, every single day, to this disease. That’s equivalent to a jumbo jet crashing and killing all its passengers–every single day. Lung cancer is the deadliest cancer, killing more people than the next 4 major cancers combined, yet it receives the least funding. Misconceptions about the disease and stigma play factors. Raising awareness can begin to change that.
Lung Cancer Awareness Month is a time to share facts about the disease, as well as tell stories of lung cancer patients, survivors, and their families to put a face on this disease. Stories of patients, survivors and caregiver of all nationalities and ages show the public that lung cancer can happen to anyone with lungs, even those without a smoking history.
Here are some ways that you can help us raise awareness about lung cancer:
Take a walk! Volunteer for or attend a Breathe Deep event near you. Join survivors, caregivers, friends and family to celebrate people living with lung cancer.
Show your social media savvy! Like us on social media! Repost our messages, #WearWhiteWednesday and/or post a photo with one of our downloadable lung cancer facts to Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. Share LUNGevity posts with your network to spread the message, and use the hashtags #LUNGevity and #ChangeLC.
Finally, show support and compassion to those who have been impacted by this disease. Let them know that they aren’t alone and that organizations like LUNGevity and Savor Health are here to help.
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with lung cancer, please call or visit LUNGevity Foundation’s website for trusted information, resources, services and hope!