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Don’t forget about lung cancer

Posted: October 20, 2010 9:30 p.m.
Updated: October 21, 2010 4:30 a.m.

October in the Santa Clarita Valley is celebrated with numerous breast cancer events and fundraisers.

Sadly though, November, Lung Cancer Awareness Month, often goes unnoticed.

Labeled as a “smoker’s disease,” often stigmatized and eliciting a “blame the victim mentality,” lung cancer remains the  No. 1 cancer killer in the U.S., killing more people than breast, colon, liver, kidney, prostate and melanoma cancers combined.

There is no established early detection screening in place. No safety net.

Generally asymptomatic, and called “The Invisible Disease,” lung cancer is often misdiagnosed, causing the majority of lung cancer diagnosis to be found in the late stage. Most patients will die within one year. The 15-percent survival rate for five years remains unchanged.

Sixty percent of newly diagnosed cases are nonsmokers, or people who quit decades ago.

Recent studies reveal an increase of lung cancer in young, nonsmoking women (20- to 30-year-olds).

Anyone who has lungs is susceptible to lung cancer. And they’re pink, too.

Lung cancer research also receives less funding per death than any other cancer.

The American Cancer Society represented lung cancer at its Relay For Life fundraiser by handing out smoking cessation packets and displaying a table covered with empty packs of cigarettes.

Their sole recognition for lung cancer awareness month: The Great American Smokeout, a lacking and tragic misrepresentation of this deadly disease.

If you think you can’t get lung cancer because you don’t smoke, think again. No one deserves cancer.

Thank you, West Ranch High Wildcats, for your continued support with your “Shine The Light Vigil” for lung cancer. You guys are amazing.


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