A pair of lungs with light radiating out from them

LCAM: What Does It Mean?

It comes every year. But what is Lung Cancer Awareness Month about?

To me, Lung Cancer Awareness Month is a reason to pause and recognize the advances that have been made. I was diagnosed 15 years ago. We have come so far since then with research, early detection, targeted therapy and many more advancements in diagnosis and treatment.

Yes, we still have a very far way to go. And, yet, we need to stop and take inventory of how far we have come.

A time to celebrate our successes and comfort each other

Lung Cancer Awareness Month is a time to celebrate our successes, celebrate survivorship, mourn our losses, and comfort each other.

Those of us in the lung cancer community are a living message of hope to those at risk. Early detection was key in my life. So, I want others to have access to screening. My hope is that one day every person can safely be screened. I know we’re not there yet. But that is my hope.

Rally, collaborate, and speak up

Lung Cancer Awareness Month is a time to collaborate among all the different organizations, to speak up with one voice for increased research funding, compassion, and awareness about lung cancer.

Lung Cancer Awareness Month is about Hope. To me, hope is about knowledge, research, and awareness. Hope is defined by those who defy the odds. Because -- although the statistics are slowly, ever so slowly, improving -- the odds are not in our favor. Yet so many, who statistically should have been gone years ago, are breathing and living a relatively good life today. If that is not hope, what is?

This community has a special bond

There is a unique bond among lung cancer patients and advocates. It is difficult to describe, but it transcends race, politics, gender, and economic status. In a sense, a lung cancer diagnosis equalizes us all. Lung cancer can impact any person anywhere from all walks of life. A lung cancer diagnosis causes the one diagnosed to reconcile their own mortality. That is a powerful bond. That is a shared experience that creates a certain unity of spirit.

If two of us were to walk away from a plane crash, do you think we would have a special bond? You bet we would. Our lives would probably be forever changed, as well. That is the type of bond I have with other members of the lung cancer community.

We will not allow the stigma to defeat us

We know that we are wrongly stigmatized because we have this disease. We know the odds are stacked against us. We know that we are not funded fairly. We know all this. We are of the same mind in many ways about these issues. And that is what motivates many of us to accept that as a challenge to bring that awareness and hope for change to those who do not know.

The lung cancer community includes organizations, individuals, patients, advocates, caregivers, and loved ones. When all the different organizations, cultures, unique individuals, and experiences speak with one voice, the sound is as beautiful as it is powerful.

So what is Lung Cancer Awareness Month all about?

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. But for many of us, we live eat and breathe Lung Cancer Awareness 365 days a year. Nevertheless, we need to pause from time to time to contemplate our progress, setbacks, and future. We also need time to grieve far too many lives now gone from us.

Perhaps more important. Lung Cancer Awareness Month is an opportunity to be grateful that we are able to benefit from this amazing time when so much is happening with more scientific breakthroughs happening now than ever before.

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