I was diagnosed with lung cancer, stage 1B, via an incidental finding in a CT scan. The first CT scan was in March of 2022, and my diagnosis was in August 2022 when a robotic bronchoscopy could finally achieve biopsy after a regular one could not. I had a lower left lobectomy in September of 2022. I was 42 years old. I have never smoked. I have three children. Since diagnosis, discovering the lack of funding and awareness for lung cancer due to the stigma and belief that lung cancer only comes from one cause has spurred me to action. Most other cancers do not focus funding for cause/prevention - they use funding for awareness campaigns about screening and research to treat and reduce mortality. It is, therefore, easy to conclude that we, as a society and a government, have decided that due to the relationship to smoking, people with lung cancer deserve what they get.
When I planned a fundraising party for my one-year cancer-versary, I could not find anything for lung cancer: no nearby walks, no shirts, no ribbons. Lung cancer is the number #1 cancer killer, killing more people than breast, prostate, and colon cancer combined, and yet I could not even find a ribbon until I found The White Ribbon Project. If you have lungs, you can have lung cancer. It should not matter my age or my smoking status - lung cancer desperately needs more research to determine why the rate in women is not going down as fast as it is in men as smoking rates go down. It also requires much more awareness for screening and helps get low-income people eligible for screening aware, mobilized, and covered. And finally, we need much more research on treatments for all genetic markers and types of this cancer. We could reduce mortality even more quickly than reducing incidence if we valued people with this type of cancer as much as do some other types.