Saved By The Scan?
Have you seen the commercial from the American Lung Association and Lung Force? If you have, were you offended? Well, you should have been because all you need to get cancer is LUNGS. You do not need to have a smoking history, you do not need to have been exposed to second-hand smoke. LUNGS. PERIOD.
Acknowledging the stigma
I saw this commercial a few weeks ago and quite honestly, needed to process what I was seeing. A woman climbing a mountain of cigarette butts. If this doesn't promote stigma, I don't know what does. It is devastating to all those who never smoked nor lived with second hand smoke. I was diagnosed 4-1/2 years ago. I do have a smoking history. My mother and 6 of her siblings have died of cancer and all from smoking. So why does this upset me?
It upsets me because I meet people often who have never smoked and they are diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. In recent years, over 20% of newly diagnosed patients are non-smokers.1 How can we ignore that Lung Cancer has many more risk factors other than smoking?
It states in bold red letters on the website, "If you ever smoked, this new lung cancer screening could save your life." Are you serious? ALA and Lung Force, you should be ashamed of yourselves. Why are you not addressing the epidemic crisis that lung cancer truly is? Please, I encourage you to google, "Non smokers getting lung cancer." Over 12 million links!
Listen to your body
Please be aware of your health. You, and only you know what normal feels like. Do you have a lingering cough? Do you have a pain in your back or chest? Do you cough up blood? There are so many possible signs that you have lung cancer that your physician may overlook it as well. Be vigilant and be persistent to your medical team if you feel things don't feel quite right.
I personally had a fever. Only at night and it lasted for almost a month before I went to the doctor. I felt fine the other 22 hours of the day so I really didn't give it a thought throughout the day. My primary care physician thought I was crazy but I was persistent in making sure they ran every test possible because I knew something was wrong with me. I knew in my head and I knew in my heart.
Did I ever dream it was lung cancer? Absolutely not. I knew as a smoker my risk increased, however, who gets a fever as their only symptom. Me. And maybe you.
Editor’s Note: We are extremely saddened to say that on January 28, 2020, Jennifer Toth passed away. Jennifer was a passionate advocate for the Lung Cancer community. She will be deeply missed.
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