Monday, November 5, 2012

Lung cancertainment

Lung Cancer Awareness Month continues ... 

It was definitely a WTF moment for me recently driving around listening to an anthology of short stories entitled Mystery Writers of America Presents Vengeancewhen I found myself listening to a short story involving lung cancer in vengeance.

OK rational brain time - Lung Cancer is the number one cancer killer, 1 in 14 Americans will be diagnosed with it … how can writers of contemporary mystery fiction really ignore it?

Breaking the taboo of the C-line should be a step forward except some argue that the portrayal is too often two steps backwards, but is it?

My daughter showed me an old pilot episode of an AMC series “Breaking Bad” staring Bryan Cranston who portrays a 50 year old high school chemistry teacher diagnosed with Stage III Lung Cancer who turns to a life of crime making crystal meth to pay the bills.

OK while catching up on Season 1, I admit it has been a bit of a dark captivation watching and relating to why he tries to keep his diagnosis secret, feeling the economic suffocation of a lung cancer diagnosis discovering who and what your insurance coverage actually covers. Filtering out fiction and fact with the eyes of someone trying to survive lung cancer – one thing for sure, money determines treatment options.

A little too close to home, his fictional character also struggles with worrying about the future of his fictional son with Cerebral Palsy. I know the feeling with my own real life lung cancer diagnosis and my real life wife severely disabled and dependent with Multiple Sclerosis.

“Lung cancer is a challenging topic for film and Television … it is treated less sympathetically than other diseases, often being used as a symbol of self-induced harm or catastrophe.” Lung cancer on screen, European Society for Medical Oncology’s 2012 congress

Patrick Leer
Caregivingly Yours, MS Caregiver @

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