Do Only Smokers Get It?
One of the hurdles that we face when treating, discussing, dealing at all with lung cancer, is the innate stigma that exists with regard to lung cancer because of the strong correlation with cigarette smoking. A lot of people feel that patients who develop lung cancer in some ways deserve it. It’s simply not true.
First off, not every lung cancer is even related to cigarette smoking. Approximately 20% of women with lung cancer have never smoked a cigarette. And that number is a little bit lower for men, but it’s still on the order of 10%. Additionally, even in those patients whose lung cancer is related to cigarette smoking, this is not your fault. People are not perfect. People don’t make perfect choices all of the time and no one should be penalized for this.
If you’re a patient dealing with lung cancer who is watching this, this is not your fault. Don’t let this be an impediment to getting an early diagnosis, to getting a treatment. We need to focus more heavily with regard to our research on lung cancer. Be more aggressive in our screening. Get over this stigma that anyone deserves lung cancer. It’s simply not the case.
Lung cancer is the number one cancer killer in our country, both in men and in women. And we do not get the lion’s share of the effort, the research dollars or the screening. We need to do better.
1. Though it does have a strong correlation with cigarette smoking, not every lung cancer is even related to cigarette smoke.
2. Even in those patients whose lung cancer is related to cigarette smoking, this is not your fault. People are not perfect.
3. Don’t let your smoking dissuade you from getting a diagnosis or treatment.
4. We need to continue advancing research into lung cancer, get more aggressive in screening, and get over this stigma that anyone deserves lung cancer.