Friday, November 5, 2010

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month!

Many of my readers know that my father passed away from lung cancer. It was 4 months ago today. He smoked for as long as I can remember and worked in a warehouse for 20+ years where he breathed in a lot of things a person probably ought not be breathing on a daily basis. Some could have been genetics, some could have been the toxins produced by tobacco. It doesn't matter now, he is gone. November 4th is Shine a Light on Lung Cancer day. Vigils are held across the country in memory of those who have lost their battles with, or are fighting lung cancer. There were no vigils in Indiana, but I still wanted to spend some time in prayer and in remembering my father. I lit a candle for him, and 4 others for each of his children. (2 not pictured, I can add)

I feel like this disease, especially out of all the cancers, has a negative reputation. I am guilty myself. I am angry that he smoked all those years and was one of the statistics in the anti-tobacco ads. I hate that he did this to himself. That being said, did you know that over 60% of new lung cancers are diagnosed in people who never smoked or who managed to quit smoking even decades ago. 17.9% of those, have never smoked at all.

I think instead of being angry that our loved ones "do this to themselves" we should be using the knowledge about the amount of people who get this disease and the severity of the disease to prevent our future generations from having lung cancer as the Number 1 cause of cancer deaths each year.

We should be doing more to raise awareness about lung cancer. The side of the cigarette packet is not enough. The government trying to create bans, and laws, and whatever else taking away "rights" just pisses people off (me included.) I think people should be REALLY educated about lung cancer.

Instead of saying, "You shouldn't smoke, it causes lung cancer." Tell your loved one, "You shouldn't smoke. It causes lung cancer. This year 163,000 people will die from this disease. About 52.8% of the people diagnosed this year will have distant stage cancers, meaning the cancer has already metastasized to other parts of the body, usually the brain. The average length of survival after this diagnosis is 3 months. Lung cancer only has a 15% 5-year survival rate, up from 13% in 1970. Only 2% improvement in 40 years. This disease will kill you." Many people have a "this won't happen to me" mentality. I am sure that's what those 17% non-smokers and 163,000 annual deaths thought too. Take care of yourself and don't be afraid to speak out about the number one cancer killer in the United States.

Statistics and information taken from the LCA

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