Hope is the Best Gift
Andrea Stern Ferris
As we celebrate Lung Cancer Awareness Month in November, we are reminded that lung cancer is a difficult disease to detect. Unlike breast, prostate or colon cancers, there are no reliable methods for the early detection of lung cancer.
Because lung cancer is typically asymptomatic, usually it is found too late for effective treatment. The 5-year survival rate for breast cancer is 90% and for prostate cancer, it is 99% but for lung cancer, it is only 16%. In fact, lung cancer takes more lives each year than breast, prostate, colon and melanoma cancers combined.
Does that surprise you?
There are many myths about lung cancer…
- MYTH: Women should care about breast cancer and men should care about prostate cancer, not lung cancer.
- FACT: Lung cancer kills almost twice as many women as breast cancer and more than twice as many men as prostate cancer.
- MYTH: “I don’t smoke, so I won’t get lung cancer.”
- FACT: Nearly 55% of new lung cancer diagnoses are in people who have quit smoking or never smoked.
- MYTH: If a disease kills more people, the federal government spends proportionately more research dollars on that disease.
- FACT: In 2010, federal research funds allocated $24,547 per breast cancer death and $12,286 per prostate cancer death but only $1,887 per lung cancer death.
The good news is that help is on the way:
- There is growing momentum to put an end to lung cancer. A vast array of grassroots events, ranging from 5K walks to wine tastings, are springing up all over the country to support research.
- Research is advancing rapidly on many fronts. There is work going on to find effective biomarkers that can be used to develop a non-invasive strategy for detecting early-stage lung cancer and to create more effective and efficient targeted therapies to treat lung cancer at all stages of the disease.
- There are more resources available, giving patients everything from what to expect after diagnosis, and what questions to ask doctors, to ways patients can take care of themselves.
LUNGevity has devoted its time and resources to creating hope. Gaining support all over the country, this year, we have invested $2 million in lung cancer research with world-renowned lung cancer experts.
We have also just launched a Caregiver Resource Center on our website, the first of its kind for those who care for lung cancer patients, arming caregivers with the tools and knowledge to better help those they are caring for. With your help, we can give lung cancer survivors and their families an amazing gift this holiday season – Hope.
LUNGevity wishes you and yours the very best of holidays – a healthy holiday.