Monday, August 13, 2012

lung cancer advocacy by the numbers

Seeing this picture on Facebook this morning of US Olympic Athletes wearing Jill’s Legacy "Beat Lung Cancer" bracelets at the closing ceremonies started my Monday with more than a smile.
picture of US Olympic Athletes wearing Jill’s Legacy Beat Lung Cancer bracelets at closing ceremonies 2012 Olympic games in London
Watching the closing ceremonies last night unquestionably I had to push the math out of my head several times as the announcers belabored “in four years” and so on. Thank you Jill’s Legacy for posting – better than coffee this morning!

Just a couple weeks ago meeting with my thoracic surgeon following my four month CT scan I discussed wanting to do something about lung cancer awareness.

My surgeon pointed out that while survivor advocacy is more than welcomed for lung cancer it has always been challenged contrasted to other cancers or chronic illnesses because of frankly the math.
comparison of survival rates between prostate, breast, and lung cancer
Pennsylvania Lung Cancer Partnership amplified those numbers with this recent Fast Fact Friday chart from their Facebook page.

Hopefully increasing awareness begins a snowballing trend to earlier screening and detection, better options for surgery and treatment, better research and best of all … more survivors.

Though I personally would like to give an awareness shout out to long term caregivers everywhere, the necessity of decades of stress and neglecting one’s own health has consequences. Stress diminishes the immune system and increases chances of cancer and chronic illness.

As a Multiple Sclerosis spouse caregiver of 22 years I know the math of caregiving and long term caregivers are increasingly dying before the family members they care for.

lung cancer survivor baseball cap
While recovering from surgery I bought this hat from Zazzle (hint: not one lung cancer organization sells any such 'survivor' stuff, unfortunately they better than anyone know the numbers). Any way simply wearing it in public can trigger spontaneous conversations in check out lines, store aisles, you name it – anywhere someone can read it and ‘wants’ to share how lung cancer affected their life.

What continues to amaze me is that while the math of survivor advocacy is rare to say the least (I have only met one other survivor because of the hat), on the other hand the math of the number of lives affected by lung cancer is seemingly everywhere.

Patrick Leer
Caregivingly Yours, MS Caregiver @
My Lung Cancer Odyssey @ 

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  1. Thanks for writing this!!! I love the way you write this. Keep writing. I am waiting for your future posts.

    Lung Cancer Symptoms

    1. Rose Marry ... thank you for your kind words