Lung Cancer Awareness Month: What We Can Learn From Celebrities Touched By The Disease

11/09/2012 07:35 am ET

Each year, 200,000 Americans are diagnosed with lung cancer and more than 150,000 die from the disease -- more than from any other type of cancer.

Up to 90 percent of these cases are due to smoking, according to the CDC, clouding lung cancer with a stigma that "people with lung cancer... brought it on themselves," writes the American Lung Association. "The bottom line is that no one deserves lung cancer -- and we must defeat the stigma to defeat the disease."

As with stigma surrounding other diseases, putting a face on lung cancer may help diffuse some of the judgment. Many activists and patients work to do just that throughout the year, but during Lung Cancer Awareness Month, we hear much more about this deadly disease.

Smoking is not the only risk factor, of course. Exposure to secondhand smoke, asbestos or radon gas and a family history of lung cancer can all increase a person's risk, according to the CDC. Once diagnosed, lung cancer is often treated with surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy, according to the National Cancer Institute.

A number of high-profile lung cancer patients have spoke outwardly about their own diagnoses or a relative's battle with lung cancer in hopes of raising awareness and money for research, as well as banishing stigma. Some of the most outspoken are in the slideshow below.

Famous Faces Of Lung Cancer

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