I have reason to be very grateful to this body; in typical American fashion they were very generous with providing information when I suspected I had developed Neuropathy as a side effect of cancer drugs – and my doctors wouldn’t admit it.
ASCO have just held their Annual Conference, probably the most prestigious one in the world. There, there was an update on Lung Cancer, which you can develop even if you don’t smoke.
To have the best chance of a cure, you need to detect Lung cancer before there’s coughing or other symptoms; ASCO delegates were then told it is at least 80% to 90% curable.
There’s no public campaign because lung cancer is a politically incorrect disease, tainted by its link to tobacco. Most politicians, charities and corporate underwriters haven’t wanted to touch it. Unlike breast cancer. Everyone wants to join the war against that.
An amazing 68% of women get regular mammograms at age 55 and above. “Women don’t even ask their doctors if they should get a mammogram. They just do it,” explains Dr. Daniel Libby, clinical professor of pulmonology at Weill Cornell Medical College. “But they’re not hearing a message that if they have a history of smoking, they also need a CT lung scan.”
Lung cancer advocates need to take a page from the pink-ribbon campaign. Nearly twice as many women die from lung cancer as from breast cancer. Women smokers are 1.5 to two times as susceptible to lung cancer as men who smoked the same amount, warns Dr. David Yankelevitz, professor of radiology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York.
What about nonsmokers? Lung cancer is on the rise, and women nonsmokers are twice as affected as men. New data in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine shows lung cancer deaths among nonsmokers outnumbering ovarian cancer deaths and cervical cancer deaths in the UK.
And now that nonsmokers are affected, the stigma around lung cancer is fading.
“In 2019, an estimated 66,000 women will lose their lives to this terrible disease,” says Senator Dianne Feinstein. Not to mention the death toll for men. Now that politicians are grabbing the issue, the next step is choosing a ribbon color.
What you can do
If you are worried you may have the disease, chivvy your doctor into arranging a CT Scan. And if the GP is reluctant, then bring in the ‘heavy guns’ at your local support centre.