What You Knew About Lung Cancer Before Your Diagnosis
Last updated: June 2021
Your world can change the moment you first hear the words “lung cancer.” As soon as you received the news, you may find out that what you knew about lung cancer before being diagnosed was entirely wrong.
To find out more about the topic, we reached out to community members on our Facebook page and asked you to tell us: “What did you know (or not know) about lung cancer before being diagnosed?”
Nearly 75 people with lung cancer shared, and here is what was said.
Not knowing much about lung cancer before diagnosis
The most common answer given was that most people did not know a lot about lung cancer prior to getting diagnosed. Having a blank slate when it comes to medical information can be a good thing. You can start fresh in terms of what you learn, and you are more open to hearing the information you are given.
“I thought I knew a lot because my mom died from it about 3.5 years before I was diagnosed. I now know I knew nothing!”
“Absolutely nothing! Only thing I thought was that it was a slow, painful death. Glad I was wrong because I have been doing well for the past 6 years as a stage 4 survivor.”
“Absolutely nothing, but I learned a whole lot in a short time.”
“Nothing. I learned the hard way.”
Learning that nonsmokers can get lung cancer
“That it was something I could still get after not smoking for 24 years. I did not qualify for screening, but I asked for a chest X-ray and am glad I did!”
“I thought lung cancer was something only smokers got. Little did I know! I never smoked in my life nor been around smokers.”
“That you do not have to smoke to get it.”
Discovering that radon and asbestos also cause lung cancer
Radon and asbestos are 2 of the silent contributors to lung cancer. Most often, people do not know these substances are in their homes or workplaces, or if they do, they do not consider them dangerous. It is worth spreading the word about these causes, as well as getting your own home checked out when you can.
“I did not know that radon can cause lung cancer. I was an occasional smoker 40 years ago but also had high levels of radon in my home. Was diagnosed in December 2017 with stage 4 lung cancer. Had radon mitigation done shortly thereafter.”
Being surprised by the advances in treatment
There is more good news when it comes to lung cancer. New treatments are continually being developed, and treatments are becoming more advanced. This gives us all a lot of hope.
“I did not know that research is so important and so many therapies are being developed.”
“The very very best thing we learned about was all of the fantastic advancements in treatment!”
Finding out life goes on
Another common finding shared by community members is that life continues after a lung cancer diagnosis. This is definitely good news. Plus, the odds of beating cancer are especially high when the diagnosis is detected at an early stage. However, even if not detected early, there is still much that can be done to fight lung cancer.
“That after diagnosis with stage 3B then 4 that the possibility of living a quality life 3 years later still existed!”
Thank you to everyone in the community who shared their thoughts with us. We are grateful for every one of you and your willingness to share with us.
Want to discuss more?
Happy Lung Cancer Awareness Month! What does self-advocacy mean to you?