Advocating for Lung Cancer to Get "Equal Time"
I am on a forum with people who have all kinds of cancer. A lot of the members have had breast cancer so many posts there relate to issues concerning that disease.
Recently, someone posted a message saying that the federal government's Office on Women's Health (OWH) had deleted all references to breast cancer, despite once having a rather robust amount of information available. Those with breast cancer were quite upset about the information being removed. Honestly, I thought it was a little odd, too, that it would be removed.
Advocating for lung cancer awareness
So, I wrote to the OWH and asked why in the world they would do away with the information on breast cancer. They responded and said that the information was old and was in the process of being updated. (They added the best government site for information on any cancer is the National Cancer Institute at www.cancer.gov.)
I was pleased with this response, but it suddenly occurred to me that while I was advocating for OWH to get information back out there for breast cancer, I was ignoring something very important. Every man, woman, and child in America knows about women and breast cancer already. There are tons of resources out there for anyone who wants to know anything there is to know about that disease. But, the cancer that kills the most women isn't breast cancer. It is lung cancer. In fact, lung cancer kills nearly twice as many women each year as breast cancer does.
So, I mentioned that fact on the forum. I said, "You know, there's nothing on OWH about lung cancer, either, and it's far more deadly to women than breast cancer." I gave the stats about how many more women die each year from lung cancer (~70,500) than breast cancer (~40,600). And, not one person ranting about the missing breast cancer information shared my outrage about lung cancer being ignored.
Time to speak up
I took it upon myself to write once more to the OWH, but this time advocating for some attention to be paid to lung cancer. I think it is at least as important for them to give some press to the fact that women, smokers or not, young or old, have a much greater chance of succumbing to lung cancer than to any other cancer.
I heard back from the OWH today and I wanted to share with you what they said,
We appreciate your suggestion to also add lung cancer content to our website. We will pass your comments and concerns to our health writers and editors for consideration. We will also notify our blog team of your suggestions as lung cancer may also make an informative blog post.
So, I wonder what would happen if many of us wrote a brief note to the OWH suggesting that they include information on the site about women and lung cancer? If enough of us mentioned the need, I have to believe that they just might add a section.
Information can saves lives
I think it would be great to have the Women's Health site dedicate some space to the dangers of lung cancer to women. If they included a little blurb about the importance of low-dose CT scans in that information, it just might save some lives.
If you would like to write to OWH, you can find a form to use to email them here. You can also call them at 800-994-9662.
What is the most useful part of this online community?