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Disparities in Lung Disease

Last updated: December 2019

It is quite clear that when it involves lung disease, the move to make changes is a slow impact. Though there are organizations and policies put in place, it’s still a long road to making a bigger impact. I attended the American Association of Cancer Research’s health disparities conference, and the people affected by lung cancer are unsettling. We have here a huge fishbowl with smokers and non-smokers as well as other various lung-related illnesses -- Emphysema, COPD, Cystic Fibrosis, and other well-regarded conditions.

Health disparities are present

Though scientists, researchers, and doctors are at work working on ways to battle many of these conditions, the conversation gets cloudy when it comes to for whom and how the treatment is provided. Does everyone affected truly know about the developments being made? Oftentimes, it depends on the care received and the information transmitted in getting the updates to what is happening. Why is that? You would think sharing news of new medications and clinical trials would do a patient good. I mean, who doesn’t want to know that there are updates in newer meds and so forth?

It’s clear the disparities lie in economics and race. It’s bad enough to hope you get full and precise details in general in a diagnosis, but when race and the have and have nots fall in the picture, well things can get hazy for so many. How can we break these ties that bound us? Well talking about these problems is a good step in the right direction. We have to keep the communication alive as this is a huge problem in many communities.

The disconnect between the medical community and us

There indeed is a disconnect and many times those on the medical end think it’s the patient’s not wanting to be involved; whereas, on the other end, we have patients who hold history and past experiences close to their heart in trust. Do you trust your life in your doctor’s hands? Now think about this strong question; many patients go through the motions of what is needed to fight their disease, but in their heart of heart know they may not be getting the best advice or care. This is where patient advocacy comes into play. When we have patients speak out on the service received, and have important and meaningful conversations on their care, well this can break down some of the barriers.

Real talk about cancer care

The bottom line when it involves cancer care is that some people will get better care than others. Some find other diseases more prevalent than lung cancer, but how do we wrap and destroy these uneven realities? Advocacy is a key in breaking down some of the stigmas when it involves lung disease, and as long we continue speaking out on the issue we will continue to give it a heartbeat. Whether you’re a caregiver or a patient, we all must continue to show a face, and our story, because it is so very relevant. Race and economics should not be the end-all-be-all when battling lung cancer. We all can break down these walls by being honest about the conversation.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The LungCancer.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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