You may not know this, but November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. One month that is, as American Lung Association CEO Harold Wimmer puts it, a double-edged sword. While this month draws attention to lung cancer, it is a short-lived conversation, one that is often forgotten after the month is over.
This is incredibly unfortunate as lung cancer is one of the most deadly forms of cancer with a survival rate of only 16 percent. So why aren’t we talking about lung cancer year round? Now, I know that smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer – so are we blaming smokers? Is that why there is such little dialogue around this deadly disease?
The fact of the matter is that 19% of adult Americans smoke while 18.1% of American high school students smoke. And in California 12.6% of adults smoke while 13.8% of high school students smoke. Chances are you may know one of those people. I know I do. I have several loved ones who smoke and understanding the incredibly addictive properties found in tobacco products, I am certainly not blaming them.
But smokers aren’t the only ones who get lung cancer. In fact, at a recent American Lung Association in California event called Frankly Speaking About Lung Cancer, Dr. Costanzo di Perna noted that lung cancer rates are skyrocketing among non-smoking women. That could be your mom or your sister. That could be me.
Given the tremendous impact that lung cancer can have on our families, it is not only time to talk about it during Lung Cancer Awareness Month, but year round. After all, opening up a dialogue is the first step to discovering better detection methods, treatment options and hopefully one day, a cure.
For more information on lung cancer, click here.