A diverse group of people holds a megaphone and a sign with lungs and a white ribbon

We Need More Than HOPE

While looking for some old pictures I came across a book written by Rick Page, proclaimed Personal Trainer to 25,000 sales superstars. I'm not really sure where the book came from, but I am a retired road warrior. It may have been assigned reading I missed, oops! The title: Hope is Not a Strategy. This statement hit home.

Hope is not a strategy

Don’t get me wrong, hope is vital. It is as important as the air we breathe. Everyone needs and deserves hope, especially when diagnosed with a life-threatening disease. It is critical for many reasons, the least of which is motivation to open your eyes each morning.

But this #1 “sales” bestseller pointed out that “hoping” will not seal the deal, you need a strategy. Mr. Page offered six keys to winning that elusive pot of gold. I believe the collective lung cancer community desperately needs a decisive, aggressive plan to “take out” this insidious disease once and for all. Yes, we need, we require HOPE, but we also need a STRATEGY! In my humble opinion, I believe we can “get it done" with only three keys, easier than a big sale!

Three keys to lung cancer awareness

KEY #1: Extinguish the stigma

We must develop short term and long-range objectives that will reverse the mechanisms currently driving the discriminatory stigma associated with lung cancer. Every advocacy organization, medical professional, medical institution, government agency must enact this UNITED plan of action. No one deserves lung cancer!

KEY #2: National education and awareness

To take down this unrelenting disease we must initiate a comprehensive, coordinated marketing plan to truthfully re-educate the entire nation about lung cancer. This UNITED message must be simultaneously presented by advocacy organizations, medical institutions, and government agencies providing life-saving awareness. Knowledge is power!

KEY #3: Increase federal research funding proportionate to the health impact

I quote: “The NIH invests nearly $39.2 billion annually in medical research for the American people.”1 This is more medical research than ANY other entity in the world. The projected 2020 NIH budget has allocated $360 million for lung cancer, less than 0.04% of the NIH budget.2 According to the latest National Vital Statistics Report, published July 2019, lung cancer “would be” ranked the 6th leading cause of death, IF it was rankable.3 Rankable? EVERY person impacted by lung cancer must UNITE to aggressively petition Congress for increased research funding. The current level is not adequate or acceptable!

Work towards a united strategy

Siddhartha Mukherjee wrote in the last paragraph of his Pulitzer Prize winning book, The Emperor of all Maladies, “To keep pace with this malady, you needed to keep inventing and reinventing, learning and relearning strategies.” For over fifty years prevention has been the single-focused approach to defeat lung cancer. We may reduce risk, but we cannot prevent ANY cancer. Most importantly, prevention is NOT treatment. Lung cancer patients need a UNITED STRATEGY; which will indeed bring HOPE! Let’s get it done!

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