About the author

Bridget Huber is a FairWarning contributor.

20 comments to “Stigma of ‘Smokers’ Disease’ Stifles Fight Against No. 1 Killer, Lung Cancer”

  1. Bob Evans

    My father died of lung cancer as well. And yes, he was a smoker. Never smoked at all until he joined the military and they gave him cigarettes. Also heart disease is brought on by yourself too. And diabetes and AIDS. So if we’re playing the blame game then maybe we shouldn’t treat any of those either. You eat too much and don’t exercise. You deserve to die. You use drugs and have unprotected sex. You deserve to die. We could go on and on about how everything is your own fault. How about car wrecks? You didn’t drive defensively enough. You speed all the time. You deserve to die. Why don’t we just try and find a cure for all diseases instead of blaming it on the victims?

  2. Cancerkiller

    Nobody will die from lung cancer any more – Nature has provided us the unlimited power of being as healthy as Gods, we just gotta activate it.

    Lung cancer and any other cancers on Earth can be erased from the face of the planet, once everybody (kids and adults) start doing my discovery – the PCK – The Personal Cancer Killer – the complete prevention and cure for kids and adults of any diseases – from the common cold to cancer – just an exercise for a minute a day for prevention and for 2 – 3 minutes a day for the cure.

    I do the Cancer Killer for a minute a day and I am the healthiest person on the planet – I cannot catch cold, flu, HIV/AIDS, malaria, etc., or any forms of cancer – that is simply impossible. Even bioterrorism is much too weak against everybody doing the Cancer Killer – any bioterrorist bugs are killed immediately in case they contact us.

    The price of the Cancer Killer for the whole world is $90 Billion. I accept checks of $5 Million to disclose it personally.

  3. Nita Jones

    Thank you for this enlightening article and the comments as well. Hopefully it will encourage the powers that be to fund research for lung cancer.

  4. Leta Bezdecheck

    90% of lung cancer is caused by smoking. We all think of smoking and that is especially hard on the 10% who acquire it that didn’t smoke. Lung cancer would lose it’s place as the most common, deadly cancer if nobody smoked cigarettes. DON’T SMOKE.

  5. K

    My Dad was just dignosed with Large cell lung cancer want to know what,he is not a smoker.It makes me so mad trying to redsearch it and dang near everything says QUIT SMOKING STOP grouping cancers together,not all people who get lung cancer smoke.He also was not around passive smoke.
    Since we found out TODAY we are lost as to where it came from,I do know he was around my Mom who had radation treetments I wonder did it come from there?.. My Mom had a neurofibromatosis tumor TURN to cancer MOVE to lung. She passed away from that.She was NOT a smoker either but when we went to plan her funeral the guy at funeral home asked if she was a smoker.NO SHE WAS NOT….Come on American cancer researchers..Do more deeper studies so people who get lung cancer and who are not smokers are not treated like the cancer is there own fault..That makes me so angry…

  6. Teresa O'Rourke

    Thank you so much for this well-written article. My Father passed away from lung cancer 17 years ago, and I didn’t talk about it for 15 years because I was tired of people asking if he was a smoker. My father’s cancer was caused by asbestos that he was exposed to while working in a steel mill. I recently found groups specifically for lung cancer, and finally found people who felt as I do. No one understands how lung cancer is treated differently than any other cancers until you have lost someone to it or experience it for yourself. No one would ask someone who lost their mother to cervical cancer “Did she have a lot of sexual partners?” Studies are showing a link between smoking and breast cancer, yet no one would ever ask a woman with breast cancer, “Oh, do you smoke?” Nor should they.
    Thank you for spreading awareness.

  7. New England Lung Cancer Project

    Excellent article! Thank you!

  8. half price sky code oct 2010

    Hello! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my previous room mate! He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this article to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!

  9. Melinda Cloud

    Great article — thank you!!! Truly enjoyable as well as informative comments too!

    Oh my, my, my how those who think they are in the “know” actually know so very little. Have you ever noticed (of course you have if you have any propensity towards thinking) that a disease must be socially “fashionable”, i.e. non-ugly in order to get a great deal of attention, either that or have a powerhouse group behind it — take breast cancer for instance — all women have breasts therefore there is a strong voice for finding a cure. Not all women will get breast cancer but most all women (including me) fear breast cancer. And a high percentage of men also like breasts. Then we have prostate cancer, herewith noted to have the best survival rate (breast cancer a close running second) and, what do prostates involve? Male genitalia and in a (still) male-dominated world, well, there is no “duh?” to figuring out the funding for that one. Cultural acceptability has a great deal to do with where cancer research monies go. It’s sad, really sad that we are still running on the hamster wheel of appearances and niceties when people are dying left and right of other (worthy of note) cancers.

    And oh how we love to blame in this society — it’s as though we’ve gone way beyond no-fault auto insurance to rationalize ourselves. Actually it may very well be the blame game that beget no-fault auto insurance. We seem to savor, to support, particularly the big-biz corporate not-MY-fault attitude, the it’s not my fault that it’s your fault excuse- manufacturing of reality.

    I’ve two dear people who died from lung cancer. Neither EVER smoked. Oh but you can bet that was the first question asked after diagnosis! It was as though the inquisitors could not handle that smoking was not the cause. Well, if that’s so, who are we going to blame and shame? Don’t all lung cancer people deserve lung cancer? And as long as we can blame them, even if they didn’t smoke, (they probably thought about it, right?) then the industrious producers of air borne carcinogens can continue on their merry way, polluting the air via coal, chemicals, etc. (and as Mr. Lombado states, above: the “small particle air pollutants”) and we can stop pretending we aren’t 2-legged sheep and simply accept that for the most part most of us are.

    On another note, yet still connected — ever wonder how many carcinogens are sprayed on the tobacco leaves as well as added chemicals during the process of making tobacco products?

    More to ponder: Breast cancer — do the research and discover women in Asian countries, for instance, have a very low comparative incidence of breast cancer YET when they travel to and decide to live in the American (cancer) society, to take on the American common lifestyle, and eat the GMO’d, chemically additive beyond all rational sense fare, pesticide laden, the super processed American diet, their incidence of breast cancer suddenly, assuredly rises. Hmmm, why is that?

    I’m a 2 years chemo-free survivor, in-remission from non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Ohh, it was aggressive! Oh dear, what did I do to get that?!? Was it breathing in the pesticides sprayed about so commonly during my childhood to kill off those nasty mosquitoes? Was it the creek I played in where the water upstream flowed from the old “piggery”, i.e. the slaughterhouse/processing livestock facility? Was it the fumes I breathed in while pumping gas as I struggled to make ends meet as a single parent? Maybe it was the glazes I worked with on my ceramic pots. Maybe it was the chemical (silicone derivatives) poisoning? Ohhhh that’s shaking scary business trying to come up with the reasons to blame myself here. I can’t even say “Well, if I’d had breast cancer they would fix it and they would know why. Or if I was a guy, hey, they’d tell me about this prostate business.” But, would they? No, because no one is telling, not in the mainstream anyway, that our entire lifestyles, our granting permission to big chemical and modifying food/agri businesses, running on more greed than is even bearable to think about and their hands-in-the-pocket governmental cohorts are the one’s killing us and we, us, the “it’s okay they know what’s best for us” two-legged sheepsters are committing (in)voluntary suicide in a great variety of ways by agreeing to it!!!

    Cause and effect. Not effect then cause. Or, go ahead and create a cause because you’re fed up with an effect that was caused to effect you. Until we start valuing life, real life without the preponderance of having man-made dominance fed by greed, until we prefer quality over quantity, until we collectively and predominantly override lust (for any number of things or feelings) to exponentially live for the true gusto of life, until we appreciate the gift we were given by the Creator, by God, well, when it all comes down to it, you’re still going to die (these days most likely from unnatural human causes} and others are still going to cry when you’re gone. Myself? I’d prefer to die from natural causes, like the body simply wearing out from a great life yet as most cancer warriors know, after you hear “remission” you hold on to that truth, you keep it at bay as long as you possibly can through a combination of conscious nutrition, prayer, attitude, and hope and you kiss Life and Love good morning when you open your eyes, absolutely grateful you opened your eyes.

    In the meantime, lets all, all of us, even those lucky enough not to have cancer or be touched by it (yet), work towards discovery of causes, ALL causes (including lung cancer) and to eradicate them (even if the Causers get mad) and let’s do our very best to compassionately support those who’ve been whacked with the disease — hold their hands as they battle for what we all want: Life and to know we’re deservedly loved while living it — like God does for us, naturally.

    Thank you for allowing me share and for taking the time to read, maybe even ponder. May the Blessings Be.

  10. Jenny Lawson

    I am very angry at people that say Lung cancer doesn’t deserve funding like breast cancer does due to the fact that it is self inflicted. No person on this earth deserves to die from any type of cancer!! Yes it is a fact that smoking can increase your risk of lung cancer. So then why all the funding on Aids then?? All the attention Aids gets?? It is definately time to dig down & realize that we have to kick lung cancer’s butt!! My Uncle Dick has just been diagnosed with lung cancer & it devastated me when I received the call from my Mom. He is so loving & caring. Every time I see him I see a smile & hear a laugh. He is such an outgoing, free spirated individual. There is no doubt in my mind that he will fight this disease with every bit he has!! I want to help get this disease the attention it so desperately deserves so people like Dr. David Carbone can find a cure for this disease or improve the survival rate. I live in Cincinnati & I plan on reaching out to people I know for help with this terrible disease that no one deserves to die from!! I hope & pray every night that my Uncle will beat the numbers. God Bless everyone that is affected by this horrible disease!!

  11. Frank Lipsky

    This issue is simple!
    Assume you have one pot (of taxpayer money) which you can donate to studies and cures of lung cancer and breast cancer.
    The facts that you use must use to divide the money in the pot are:
    Lung cancer in the main is self afflicted-and caused by addictive nicotine;breast cancer is not sef inflicted and the scientific progress has been miserable.
    What is so morally difficult?

  12. Betsy Thompson

    Such a comprehensive article, yet we all tap dance around the Elephant in the Living room.We all know where this stigma stems from.
    I represent a small but determined group of Lung Cancer Survivors and Caregivers. We have no political agendas and are not concerned with strategic positioning for our advancement We fight for equal recognition and acknowledgement of those living with this disease.
    When the worlds richest, largest,most powerful cancer organization can do no more than represent LCAM with ONE event-The Great American Smoke Out, need we look further into “Stigma”? C’mon everyone,say the words…American Cancer Society.

  13. Suzann Smith

    I would like to thank you for such an informative article on lung cancer. I am not sure if I feel better after reading this or I could just scream. I lost my brother on September 20, 2012 from lung cancer. He was diagnosed in late July. Yes, he was a smoker but quite years ago. When he started to smoke it was fashionable, cool and exceptable. To say to a cancer patient that it is there fault is rediculous. My rage comes from the fact that
    research for cancer is not treated the same. Because we have pretty pink bows running around this country does not make breast cancer any more serious than lung cancer. I think that the heads of these grants for distributing research money for lung cancer should have to spend a month with patients and their families that are suffering from lung cancer, . Maybe they would understand that this funding is needed. I say lets get our act together and start realizing that lung cancer is the desease that needs research money. I also think that we should start wearing Purple bows for lung cancer maybe than we will get recognized.
    Keep up the good work Fairwarning.Org

  14. Lynn Gauvain

    Thank you for this article. I have been fighting Lung Cancer only since Feb. of this year, but it is the hardest thing I have ever faced. Yes I was a smoker, but it’s not like I said “hey, lung cancer is #1 on my wish list.” I still feel the quilt over having to tell my family.
    I was so surprised when I learned the real life facts about lung cancer (under)funding, (under)reseaching and (un)awareness.
    I am spreading the word everyday this month about the problems with the funding and research and stigma.

  15. Rita Russell

    Thank you so much for this extremely well-written, comprehensive article about the far-reaching negative effects of lung cancer’s stigmatization as a smokers’ disease. My mother was blindsided by lung cancer 11 years ago when she was diagnosed with an adenocarcinoma, stage 3b. Because she was a lifelong nonsmoker, her primary care physician all but assured her that her sudden onset of fatigue and shortness of breath was NOT cancer related. He was just as stunned as we were when the her biopsy came back positive for lung cancer.

    The world needs to know that if you have lungs, you can get lung cancer… whether you’re a smoker, former smoker, or never smoker. And no matter which group you fall into, if you are diagnosed with lung cancer, you deserve just as much compassion and support from family, friends, and the public as anyone else who is battling a life-threatening illness.

  16. Roz

    Thank you for your very well-written, educational, and thoughtful article. As an eight year survivor of lung cancer who is very involved with advocacy I believe that lack of public awareness about the true facts surrounding lung cancer contributes to the path of death and destruction this disease causes.
    The perpetuation of the smoking stigma lulls non-smokers into a false sense of security that they are immune to lung cancer. The rise amongst non-smoking young women is most alarming. The number one risk factor for lung cancer is having lungs.

  17. Stephanie Perez

    Thanks for this article. Lung cancer needs all the exposure it can get. As a 2 year survivor I am counting on our medical commnity to keep me alive. I’ve been so lucky so far and I know it. If my current course of treatment stops working I am hopeful that there is something else out there for me. People need to know that anyone can get lung cancer. It’s scary sometimes to put myself out there and talk about it because I’m never sure of how people will react, but I feel I have to. People need to know! Thanks for helping to inform.

  18. terri ferguson

    i’m a 4 year lung cancer warrior,while awerness is the key to finding the cure !!!!there are more deadly cancers than breast now like pancratic,my husband is 53 dignoised after 1&half years of guessing!purple ribbon lung is white lets fight!!!!!

  19. Bonnie Addario

    We have two foundations here in San Francisco. The Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation and the Addario Lung Cancer Medical Institute (ALCMI). lungcancerfoundation.org and alcmi.net….

    We started the foundation in 2006 and have had statistics on buses, in the New York Subways and billboards around the country. We currently have a PSA with Maroon 5 being viewed multiple times a day.

    I am a lung cancer survivor of 8 years. In a very small club.

    The very last words a patient needs to hear when they are diagnosed with any cancer is that they brought it on themselves and should be ashamed. I have heard those words and know how it feels.

    My grandparents were immigrants to this country and we were taught that America never turns their back on anyone. We need to revive that belief and get on with this and take care of all of our patients regardless of what disease they have.

    Thank you for your article. The more media we all receive the better.

    With much gratitude,

    Bonnie Addario

    Everything said here is true and probably even more difficult than expressed.

  20. Louis V. Lombardo

    Bravo! This is an important article. I worked in air pollution control in the 1960s when it was treated as a public health problem not as it is now as an environmental program. When Nixon created the EPA from reorganized PHS programs for air pollution control and other pollution programs he appointed William Ruckelshaus to head the EPA. Ruckelshaus made the symbol of EPA a flower See it at EPA.gov. The joke at EPA was that now we were to protect birds and bunnies rather than people. Ruckelshaus was later rewarded by becoming head of Weyerhauser.

    Three comments:

    First, examine the research on small particle air pollutants — euphemistically referred to as “fines”. The smaller the particle the higher the surface area to volume ratio. Small particles are therefore chemically more reactive per unit of mass that larger particles of the same substance. And lungs have evolved better defense mechanisms against large particles than small particles.

    Second, opposition to air pollution control comes from oil, coal, power, chemical and other industrial interests. Controlling less visible pollution of “fines” is more expensive than controlling more visible smoke pollutants. So wide industrial opposition to lung cancer research has broader and more powerful support in Congress than opposition by Tobacco interests.

    Third, cancer prevention advocates should fight bureaucratic opposition to set asides of research monies for specific cancers such as lung cancer. Start with small percentages such as 1%, 10%, etc. Insist on accountability and commensurate allocation of funds and problems.

    Keep up the good work Fair Warning!

Leave a comment