NEW YORKIn a recent Cancer Care, Inc. survey, 44% of lung cancer
patients said they feel they are treated differently than people with other
cancers. Even more medical professionals surveyed (77%) said they believe
people with lung care are often stigmatized.
When asked why they felt stigmatized, patients said there is a marked
reluctance on the part of celebrities to identify themselves as patients, which
has resulted in poor fund-raising efforts and little publicity. Others feel
blamed because most lung cancer cases (90%) are smoking related, yet 10% of
patients never smoked.
To help decrease this culture of blame, a campaign known as It’s Time to
Focus on Lung Cancer has launched a website www.lungcancer.org for patients,
loved ones, and health care professionals, as well as a toll-free lung cancer
information line at 1-877-646-LUNG (5864).
Actress S. Epatha Merkerson, who plays Lt. Anita Van Buren on NBC’s drama
Law & Order, is lending her support to the campaign. Two of Ms. Merkerson’s
best friends died of the disease. "We no longer have the right to remain
silent about lung cancer," she said.
The campaign is being promoted nationally by Cancer Care, the Oncology
Nursing Society, The Wellness Community, and The CHEST Foundation.