Question for you… What’s the #1 cancer killer of women?
Did you think it was Breast Cancer? I did too…but it’s not. It’s Lung Cancer, killing almost twice as many women as any other cancer. And in spite of that,“only one percent of women cite Lung Cancer as a women’s cancer.”
I learned this fact, and many other staggering statistics, while attending the launch of the American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE, #ShareYourVoice campaign. They, in partnership with CVS Health, are on a mission to bring awareness and address the urgent health issue of lung cancer in women during Women’s Lung Health Week (May 10th – May 16th) and beyond.
What is LUNG FORCE?
It is a national initiative led by the American Lung Association aimed at uniting women (and men) to share their voices in the fight against lung cancer. Its three-pronged focus is to spread awareness, educate and empower, and raise funds that are so desperately needed for early detection, clinical trials, biomarker testing, and more research.
It’s been just two weeks since my brother-in-law passed away due to complications of lung cancer, and as macabre as it sounds, it was rather ironic that I was invited to attend the launch of LUNG FORCE. When he was first diagnosed, less than a year ago, I had no inkling how virulent and insidious this disease could be. My incredulity at the fact that he was a non-smoker but still managed to contract this cancer was matched by that of so many others. In fact, part of the reason that lung cancer does not get as much attention is because of that stigma attached to it. Many people brush it off as being a “smoker’s cancer” while it really isn’t.
“Approximately two thirds of lung cancer diagnoses are in women who have never smoked or formerly smoked,”
The statistics are staggering: “less than half of all women diagnosed with lung cancer will be alive one year after diagnosis.” And “an estimated 71,000 American women will lose their lives to lung cancer in 2015 alone.”
Celebrities like Valerie Harper, Laura Dern, and Kellie Pickler attended the event to share their stories and personal connection to lung cancer, and to debut a new video featuring them and other lung cancer patients and caregivers. It’s quite moving and really sends home the message that we need to step up and step on it.
Now through May 23, CVS/pharmacy customers can support LUNG FORCE when they make as little as a $1 donation (or more) at the register or online at www.cvs.com/lug. (All proceeds will support the movement.)
Join the fight, #ShareYourVoice, and speak out to drive policy changes. There is no “pink army” spreading the word, but there is a turquoise army building. (My only regret about attending the LUNG FORCE event was not finding anything turquoise in my closet to wear and thus show support. Hmm, I did notice some nice turquoise earrings at a store in SoHo the other day…)