Well, I still have Lung Cancer. And I am very aware that I have Lung Cancer. I am reminded everyday. Whether I am reminded because I can’t breathe just right, or when I take six miracle pills every night, or give myself a shot of enoxaparin after I take the six miracle pills or just because I feel a bit crummy and fatigued…I am aware. I am aware every time I look at my kids, every time I plan something in the future, every second of every day, I am aware.
I am so aware of Lung Cancer and how it impacts lives and I am so aware of the tragic survival statistics, that I remain surprised that EVERYONE is not aware of the tragedy of Lung Cancer.
May is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. In honor of this I will post some statistics about Lung Cancer in an effort to pass the word around and hope to compel others to pass on this information and at best act on it by participating in a Lung Cancer Event or donating to an organization such as Lung Cancer Alliance, Free to Breathe or Lungevity. Money is needed to support research so a cure can be found (and medications to prolong life until that cure is found).
- Lung Cancer is the second leading cause of death, next to heart disease.
- Lung Cancer kills more people every year than the next three deadliest cancers (Colon, Breast and Prostate Cancer) combined.
- Anyone can get Lung Cancer. About 65% of all new lung cancer diagnoses are among people who have never smoked or are former smokers. Approximately 10-15% of lung cancer cases are in never smokers. While those 70 and older are more often diagnosed, it can strike at any age. I found out at age 43 that I had Stage IV ALK+ Lung Cancer,
- Lung Cancer takes the lives of 160,000 people per year, more than any cancer, yet less than 6% of all Federal Cancer Research dollars are spent on Lung Cancer.
- Only 17% of those diagnosed with Lung Cancer survive 5 years. If detected early survival improves dramatically. If diagnosed in Stage IV (like mine), the five-year survival rate is only 4.0 percent.
- Over half of people with lung cancer die within one year of being diagnosed.
But there is Hope! New treatments are becoming available which can extend lives and improve quality of life. This is thanks to research! I am a lucky recipient of medications that have extended my life. So if you are wondering if your donations matter, I know for a fact they do matter. Consider participating in a Walk/Run or Bike for Lung Cancer in your home area. The Lung Cancer Alliance is sponsoring a Run in Portland, Oregon on June 20. Here is a link to register:
So, Happy Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Talk amongst your friends, share this information with a stranger, express your surprise about these statistics to whoever is standing near you.
I was invited to be honored as a Cancer Survivor at my oldest son’s after school program during their Cancer Awareness Activities this month. I am so proud of his After School Club for educating the kids about cancer and hosting their own Relay for Life! It’s a great opportunity for the kids to learn that they can impact something big, like Cancer, with their fund raising efforts or maybe even consider a career that leads to a cure for cancer! I say teach them to dream big and take action!
Speaking of children… Here are a few recent pictures of my two boys (and one of me). Life has been good the last few months and the Cancer has been challenging. I will save that update for another post…