Community Views: What I Wish People Knew About Lung Cancer
When you have lung cancer, your life can feel turned upside down. There are many questions to ask, choices to make, and people who want to talk with you. Sometimes, these people do not understand what you are going through. They may have mistaken beliefs about lung cancer.
In honor of Lung Cancer Awareness Month, we wanted to focus on real stories behind the cancer statistics. We turned to our Facebook page and asked community members to fill in the blank: “I wish that people knew that lung cancer is___.”
There were more than 200 comments, and here is a look at some of the wishes members shared.
Lung cancer can happen to anyone
Some people mistakenly believe that only smokers get lung cancer. But many people who do not smoke get it too. Researchers are trying to figure out what else causes lung cancer besides smoking. They are learning that air pollution and secondhand smoke may raise the risk of lung cancer.1
“I wish that people knew that lung cancer is not only a smoker’s disease!”
“I wish people knew that anyone with lungs can get lung cancer.”
“Ten-plus year warrior of stage 4 adenocarcinoma inoperable metastatic NSC lung cancer…survivable! Ya got lungs...you can get it, too!”
More research is needed
Lung cancer research is underway at medical centers around the world. Scientists are working on how to prevent lung cancer, find it early, and treat it effectively. Researchers have found, for instance, that in people with a high risk of lung cancer, such as smokers, spiral CT scans rather than regular chest X-rays can lower the risk of death from lung cancer.2
Many community members voiced their wishes for more research to help find a cure for lung cancer.
“I wish people knew that lung cancer is in need of much more research and support.”
“I wish people knew that lung cancer is a demon that needs more research, trials, etc.”
Lung cancer can be treated
There are a variety of treatments for lung cancer. Your doctor will help you decide which is right for you. One type of surgery for lung cancer is video-assisted surgery. It is used on some small lung tumors. With this procedure, the surgeon makes smaller incisions. This means less time in the hospital and less pain for the person being treated. Research is underway to see if this surgery can be used for larger lung tumors.3
In addition to surgery, there are new medicines called targeted therapy drugs. These are being used to treat a form of lung cancer called non-small cell lung cancer.4
“I wish people knew that lung cancer is so much easier to treat with early CAT scan screening.”
“I wish people knew that lung cancer is treatable. I had one removed 14 years ago, and I’m doing great.”
Lung cancer is not necessarily fatal
Getting diagnosed with lung cancer is serious, but there are many treatments to help treat it. Surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and palliative care are all options. You may also qualify to be part of a clinical trial. You and your doctor need to discuss which options are right for you.4
“I wish people knew that lung cancer is...scary but treatable. I was diagnosed with stage 3, and after chemo, radiation, and 1 immunotherapy, I am now in remission. Thank the Lord.”
“I wish people knew that lung cancer is...not a death sentence.”
“I wish people knew that lung cancer is...curable. It’s not a death sentence.”
A big thank you to everyone for sharing with our community what they wish others knew about the disease they live with every day. Your honesty and willingness to share your experiences and thoughts about lung cancer are much appreciated.
What do you resonate with most, when it comes to advocating for lung cancer?