Cancer Awareness | Breast, Prostate, Skin, Colon, but Where is Lung?

I want to let you know upfront that I am about to express my strong opinion in this post. If you are easily offended or quick to send a defensive retort, then it’s probably best that you close this page now and don’t look back.

Breast cancer awareness dominates the airways. Public Service Announcements abound. Races for the cure happen all over the place. It is the #1 cancer found in women. There are even PSAs for Prostate cancer – the #1 cancer found in men. I’ve seen and heard spots on colon (colorectal) and even skin cancer. However there is very little going on to raise awareness of lung cancer, which is the #2 cancer found in both men and women. I want to see this killer get equal face time right up there with breast cancer. Pink, pink, pink – I see pink ribbons, shirts, and hats all over the place. I have family members who’ve battled this and, fortunately, have won! There are many more with lung cancer that don’t win their battles, though.

Early detection is a huge reason for breast cancer survival, and we are reminded all the time how important breast self exams (BSEs) are in early detection. We need to support such research for early detection of lung cancer. Detection at earlier stages greatly increases the chances or survival or, at the very least, to survive longer than a year or less as is often the case with late-stage detection. My dad lived only five months after detection, and he had a lot of “what if” and “should have” thoughts.

Even before detection needs to be a thought in your head, prevention is more important! For those who don’t have time or wouldn’t give a thought to clicking that link, here’s some interesting information from that page:

When Smokers Quit – What Are the Benefits Over Time?

20 minutes after quitting: Your heart rate and blood pressure drops.

12 hours after quitting: The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.

2 weeks to 3 months after quitting: Your circulation improves and your lung function increases.

1 to 9 months after quitting: Coughing and shortness of breath decrease; cilia (tiny hair-like structures that move mucus out of the lungs) regain normal function in the lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce the risk of infection.

1 year after quitting: The excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker’s.

5 years after quitting: Your stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker 5 to 15 years after quitting.

10 years after quitting: The lung cancer death rate is about half that of a continuing smoker’s. The risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, cervix, and pancreas decrease.

15 years after quitting: The risk of coronary heart disease is that of a nonsmoker’s.

~ from American Cancer Society

I smoked on and off (more on than off) for a total of about 13 years. I quit cold turkey when I was 27 (that’s 17 years ago). Even before I started smoking, I had been exposed to second-hand smoke my entire life. That’s more than half my life so far exposed to smoke daily. {Please note that I am not trying to make anyone feel badly here.} So hopefully, everything in that list above now applies to me! If you’re in your 40s, 50s, 60s, or beyond, don’t think it’s too late to make any difference. Don’t think that if you’ve made it this long, you may as well die enjoying your death sticks. As early as one month after quitting, you can feel a big difference and have more energy. That alone would be worth it to me!

Why not add yet another tax to packs of cigarettes (1$ per pack) that is designated to fund lung cancer research? I like that idea! Do you want to see something interesting? I’m going to show you anyway! I found a breakdown of the price of cigarettes by state. The average price, all states considered, is $5.51 per pack. Smokers in New York pay $8.97 per pack! :O That is freakin’ INSANE! Think about it… if the average smoker smokes one pack per day, that’s about $270 per month! On average, using the same numbers, smokers are spending about $165 every month (that’s damn near $2000 per year) to smoke one pack per day. Why?! I just don’t get it! You can’t tell me, “You’re not a smoker; you don’t know.” I was a smoker; I do know! When I smoked, I thought it was relaxing. At the same time, if I smoked too much, I felt jittery. Contradiction!

OK – That’s all I have time for. It wasn’t as strong as I thought it would be so let me add a strong statement to close the post. How dare you smokers who feel it’s your right in this “free” country to smoke in restaurants and expose non-smokers to the carcinogens you are placing in the air we breathe! Just as we don’t understand why you continue to smoke knowing the risks (and a great number of you have seen the results first hand), you don’t understand how sad it makes us to be reminded of loved ones lost to this terrible killer every time we smell your smoke. Have a heart and show compassion before getting defensive.

Stepping off soapbox … for now.


  • I’ll pass this along to my son. He is on day three of no smoking. I gave him what tips I had that helped me.


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