It is time to stop the stigma and realign the way we think about this disease. Lung cancer is a public health problem that needs to be addressed, regardless of how it came about. We need to take care of those who are sick and stop blaming patients for their condition.
Increased awareness is vital in our fight because that is what drives the research and funding needed to eradicate this disease. Individual people can have a huge impact, and now is time to focus our efforts on transforming lung cancer into a survivable disease.
I am confident that if the medical community, research community, business community, elected officials, patients, advocates, and family members all come together -- we could dedicate the necessary resources to combat this deadly disease.
Lung Cancer Awareness Month is a double-edged sword. While it puts a spotlight on lung cancer, raising funds and building awareness, that spotlight only lasts 30 days, and lung cancer is taking close to 160,000 lives each year.
While adult smoking rates in the general population were cut in half between 1965 and 2004, the ratio of heavy and dependent smokers who meet the psychiatric definition of "nicotine dependence" is steadily rising.