Anyone can get lung cancer. 
Shockingly, 40% of those diagnosed never smoked or stopped many years before their diagnosis.

 
Diagram used with permission of the Mayo Clinic Foundation

Diagram used with permission of the Mayo Clinic Foundation

6 Facts About Our Lungs

1. The lungs are one of the largest internal body organs.
2. Stretched out, the lungs have the surface area of a tennis court.
3. People can live with one lung. 
4. The lungs consist of approximately 300 million tiny sacs called alveoli (grape like clusters) where the gas exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide takes place. 
5. The right lung is slightly larger than the left lung.
6. Humans breathe in 2,100 to 2,400 gallons of air each day.

Only 15% of lung cancer patients are diagnosed at the early stage when the disease is most curable. This is unacceptable. The Wortman Lung Cancer Foundation is determined to help create lung cancer awareness & raise funding for lung health and lung cancer research to help save lives. Scientific findings including lifesaving CT scanning must be shared with the public. There are often no distinct or noticeable symptoms until lung cancer is in its later stages, but there are common symptoms to watch for.

Key symptoms to watch for:

  • A cough that doesn’t go away and gets worse over time
  • A chronic cough or “smoker’s cough”
  • Hoarseness in throat
  • Constant chest pain
  • Shortness of breath or wheezing
  • Frequent lung infections such as bronchitis or pneumonia
  • Coughing up blood

Look for these risk factors:

  • Are you or have you been exposed to secondhand smoke on a consistent basis at home, at work, etc.?
  • Do you smoke, or have you been a smoker in the past?
  • Have you checked to make sure your home is not one of the 1 in 15 in the US subject to radon exposure?
  • Are you exposed to hazardous chemicals at work? (e.g. asbestos, uranium, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, nickel, and some petroleum products)
  • Is the air quality good where you live? Is there particle pollution: smoke, smog, etc.?
  • Do you have a family history of lung cancer?
 

CT scans save lives.

Listen to a former smoker share how scanning helped her. As the number one cancer killer, lung cancer claims more lives than breast, prostate, and colon cancers combined. To help detect lung cancer sooner, when it’s far more treatable, Mayo Clinic launched a Lung Cancer Screening Program. For some, the process is already proving to be a life saver.

 
 
 

Wellness & Survival

Overcoming lung cancer is hard. But there is hope! Linda overcame lung cancer and now lives a full life through excellent medical care at Mayo Clinic and wellness training by Dr. Amit Sood. New techniques like breathing routines and exercise are being proven to increase resilience.

Look for a medical care team who will:

  • Evaluate and assess any physical and psychological side effects you may experience after cancer treatment

  • Help you understand your cancer diagnosis and treatments, as well as long-term complications you may face
  • Recommend follow-up care based on the latest surveillance guidelines
  • Discuss preventive care to reduce the risk of a cancer recurrence or other types of cancer
  • Create a healthy living plan
  • Connect you with the necessary experts to help you cope with your symptoms that may require physical therapy
  • Provide referrals for experts, such as dietitians, complementary medicine, and alternative medicine specialists

Below is a short video by Dr. Amit Sood about the importance of gratitude. 
You can see more by Dr. Sood of Mayo Clinic at stressfree.org

 
 
 

Stop the stigma.

"Stigma: A mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person."

“You have cancer" are hard words to hear. Having never smoked, it was shocking when Linda heard "You have lung cancer." Now imagine how demoralizing it is to hear, “Your insurance company requires that you go through Nicotine rehab" — especially when you NEVER smoked! Linda felt victimized by society and business, on top of dealing with the devastating news of cancer, trying to focus on her health, survival, and finding a path to resilience.

Stigma is a complex issue that demands a multifaceted approach.

Linda was too sick to think about the stigma. But later she recalled the look on the faces of everyone on the thoracic floor – doctors, nurses, every caregiver, every patient and every family member – all seemed haunted by the stigma of lung cancer. Linda wanted to create an awareness about lung cancer so researchers could have the desperately needed funding to find the cure for lung cancer victims like her. “No one deserves to die like this!”

Stigma negatively affects every facet of the lung cancer community — from patients and caregivers to physicians, researchers, and funders. The stigma of lung cancer is particularly hard to address, and the impact of stigma are real, especially for lung cancer patients and their families.

Research has proven stigma is often experienced more by lung cancer patients than by other patient groups. Early detection methods and technology have advanced, yet the negative stigma remains.

A French study found significant changes in the type of cancer being diagnosed. The rate of people developing adenocarcinoma (a non-small cell lung cancer) like Linda, jumped from 35.8 percent to 53.5 percent between the years 2000 to 2010.

As efforts to reduce the stigma associated with lung cancer move forward, everyone has a role to play. Patients, families, healthcare professionals, researchers, and advocates will be more powerful in this initiative if we all combine forces. People need to know there is HOPE with emerging scientific advances that can save lives. My life was saved because I was diagnosed in a timely manner, was properly treated, and professionally followed-up and given support to enhance my physical well being. This is essential because it saves insurance companies and loved one’s money allowing them to focus on healing and living well.

How to eliminate the stigma of lung cancer:

  • Donors must support research to better understand the impact of stigma on health care and treatment options. Monitor and evaluate the success of stigma-reduction efforts.

  • Decision-makers and lung cancer advocates organizations must focus on activities that promote self-efficacy, such as early detection screening, to save lives and empower patients.
Fact: Every 2.5 minutes, another person is diagnosed with lung cancer.
  • Healthcare professionals must treat people with lung cancer in an empathetic, non-judgmental and supportive way, and connect them with a complementary medicine and support tools to help in their recovery.
  • Lung cancer advocacy organizations must commit to delivering messages about lung cancer that do NOT perpetuate the stigma. No one deserves to die of this disease. If caught early, it is highly curable.
  • Patient advocates must work together in ways that unify the lung cancer community, and not separate people facing lung cancer based on their smoking histories. Lung cancer is a disease!