Unraveling the Stigma Surrounding Lung Cancer

November 7, 2012  |  Mesothelioma

Lung Cancer Awareness MonthUnlike other cancers, there is often a stigma attached to victims of lung cancer that can often muddle the water of the lung cancer movement. Lung cancer is still the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, with over 200,000 people diagnosed with lung cancer each year. In 2010, there were 105,770 new cases of lung cancer diagnosed in women, and more than 71,080 deaths – a greater number than breast, uterine and ovarian cancer deaths combined.

November is officially Lung Cancer Awareness Month, and never has there been a better time to take a closer look into the risk factors of lung cancer and how we can truly make a difference in the fight against this killer.

The stereotype that lung cancer is a “smoking cancer” contributes to an underlying assumption that those diagnosed with lung cancer should have known better and are somehow at fault for their disease. This stereotype is not true but is so strong that most people fail to consider the environmental factors that can also be responsible for lung cancer.

The rise in female lung cancer among nonsmokers is of particular concern. In fact, 20 percent of women who develop lung cancer have never even smoked. Moreover, in the U.S.15 to 20 percent of lung cancers occur in people who have never smoked, but 70 to 80 percent of “never-smokers” with lung cancer are women.

Environmental factors, including asbestos, are considered to be the cause of this growth in nonsmoker lung cancer. Like smoking, lung cancer caused by asbestos is also entirely preventable, but the responsibilities fall on the asbestos companies, not the victim. The asbestos industry continued to profit even after the link of asbestos exposure to lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma was widely known. 

If someone is diagnosed with lung cancer and has a history of asbestos exposure, it is important to seek legal counsel. Even if a nonsmoker with lung cancer doesn’t recall when they were exposed, it is possible that they have been in contact with asbestos fibers. Asbestos products were widely used in construction products throughout the U.S, and continue to be used today.

Asbestos is also the cause of mesothelioma, a cancer often mistaken for lung cancer. Mesothelioma, however, is a cancer that affects the lining of the lungs.  Like lung cancer, mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that is extremely difficult to treat.

Regardless of the cause, it can be argued that lung cancer does not receive the same level of advocacy that is given to other types of cancer. Mesothelioma advocacy is even further obscure when it comes to public awareness. Often people do not become familiar with the deadly disease until it affects someone close to them. 

During Lung Cancer Awareness Month, the national mesothelioma law firm of Baron and Budd would like to call on the public to become more informed in lung cancer awareness and to encourage those around you to do the same. 

Baron and Budd is a platinum-level sponsor of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization. 

To learn more about the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, visit here.

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