World Lung Cancer Day: Lung Cancer Survivors Share Stories to Help Eliminate Stigma

American Lung Association shares stories, encourages others living with lung cancer to speak out

Today, on World Lung Cancer Day, the American Lung Association is sharing inspiring stores of people impacted by lung cancer and encouraging others to share their stories to raise awareness and work to dispel the stigma often associated with the disease. 

Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer of people in the United States, yet public awareness of this fact is low. In addition, lung cancer does not have nearly the resources, support and public empathy that many other diseases have. This is likely due to the strong, pervasive stigma associated with the disease. Sadly, stigma plays a major role in the experience for most people living with lung cancer. Feelings of fear, guilt and blame affect their quality of life and quality of care. Stigma is also linked to disease-related distress and poor health outcomes in lung cancer patients. 

Education and awareness about lung cancer can help break the stigma, and one of the best ways to do that is to share stories from those who have been impacted.

Christy Fischer was given a 2% chance to live when she was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in 2006. Now, 17 years later, Fischer is thriving.  

“Since the very start, I’ve intentionally surrounded myself with supportive individuals to help foster a positive mindset. My doctors call me a miracle,” said Fischer. “Sharing my cancer journey with others who are going through something similar is a way to help save lives. Seventeen years ago, they told me I only had 2% chance of living and look at me now.” Watch Fischer’s full story in this video.

Paul Shoun was in perfect health until he began to have trouble walking in 2017. When it got so bad he was barely able to stand, he went to the emergency room where he was later diagnosed with Stage 4 Non-small cell lung cancer with metastasis to his brain. He had brain surgery three days later, and then had to relearn how to walk. Today, he is living an active life.

“It is my continued hope that we will be successful in getting increased funding for lung cancer research and treatment. It is only through continued research that more immunotherapy and other targeted lifesaving treatment options will be discovered and utilized. I am filled with gratitude to still be alive and in the position to be able to help share my story,” he said. Read Shoun’s full story here.

Irisaida Mendez is living with stage 4 lung cancer. She was diagnosed with uterine cancer in 2017 that metastasized to her lung. She had a lobectomy and chemotherapy, but the cancer kept spreading. The doctors tried a new immunotherapy as a last resort. Thankfully, the treatment is working well.

“As a lung cancer warrior, I have made up my mind to fight for my family, fight for air, and to fight for a cure for lung disease. Research saved my life and keeps me breathing. We need more research to save more lives, and we also need affordable healthcare to cover treatments without it being a toll on the family income,” she said. Read Mendez’s full story here.

Learn more on how to address stigma and help to reduce stigma and unite the lung cancer community and share your story to become a LUNG FORCE Hero at LUNGFORCE.org/Heroes.

For more information, contact:

Jill Dale
312-940-7001
[email protected]

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