Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Awareness

Yesterday as I was driving home from work (early of course because my evil cold is not yet gone) and listening to the radio at the same time (does that count as distracted driving as I was doing two things at once?), there was a public service announcement that came on for lung cancer in women. It gave a few statistics:
  • There will be approximately 226,000 cases of lung cancer and 229,000 cases of breast cancer diagnosed in the US this year.
  • There will be approximately 160,000 deaths from lung cancer and 39,000 deaths from breast cancer in the US this year.
  • Nearly twice as many women will die from lung cancer than will die from breast cancer.
  • There are no ribbon walks, runs, awareness, yogurt lids, hats, and all that for lung cancer.
It was a very poignant PSA and I wish I had paid more attention to the beginning. It did grab my attention as it made some very strong points. We have plenty of breast cancer awareness out there. We don't need any more. We need
  • Awareness of other types of cancer
  • Research for a cure for all types of cancer
  • Fewer pink ribbons
I think when we get an 'icky' diagnosis, we tend to focus on our ailment and not on any others. I know where my focus is: breast cancer and thyroid cancer. But I am very familiar with many other ailments - a friend's husband has stage IV colon cancer, a high school friend has MS, my mother has rheumatoid, and the list goes on and on. But I know I focus on myself and my health issues. I do need to take a step back and think of other ailments.

I live in the little microcosm of the pink breast cancer world which is populated by women with their pink ribbons and strong sense of humor. My little world also includes a growing community of thyroid cancer people which is a cancer with one of the fastest growing incidence rates. I was lucky both these cancers have relatively good survival rates. Lung cancer is one which does not. We tend to forget the statistics that others face. That is the awareness we really need.

1 comment:

Ruth said...

Thanks! As a 46 year old non-smoker w/stage IV lung cancer, it's refreshing to hear this sort of admission.