American Cancer Society, we need to talk.
You, with the snappy first-in-the-phone-book name, American Cancer Society. The organization that I first turned to when I was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2005, because, as far as I knew back then, you were it.
The only game in town.
However, you disappointed. Nada, in the way of advocacy/assurance/assistance. Unless, of course, I wanted to stop smoking. Which I didn’t, as I’d never smoked in the first place.
Eventually you got on board. Sorta. You just couldn’t let go of that smoking/lung cancer connection. Perhaps it was contrition–making up for your past sins, like this article that appeared in The Atlantic in January of 1956, in which Dr. Charles S. Cameron, then Medical and Scientific Director of the Society states: ‘It does not hold that smoking causes cancer of the lung. It does not propose to tell the public not to smoke.’
Now you just can’t seem to talk about anything but smoking and whether or not it is your intention, the American Cancer Society’s obsession with the tobacco/lung cancer connection–which ignores the fact that roughly 80% of those newly diagnosed with lung cancer are either former or never smokers–adds constant fuel to the perpetual stigma fire.
You just came out with a survey in which you ask people what they care most about when it comes to cancer and though you make references (twice–each) to both tobacco and smoking you never mention lung cancer. Even though it is the Number One Cancer Killer in the US, according to the Lung Cancer Foundation of America, ‘killing more than breast, prostate and colorectal cancers, combined, every year’.
So what I’d like to know is why is it that you can talk until you are blue in the face (been there, done that–shortness of breath is a common side effect of LUNG CANCER) about TOBACCO and SMOKING and yet you can’t come clean about the fact that LUNG CANCER is something that can happen to ANYONE. That really, all you need are lungs. And that the NUMBER ONE CANCER KILLER IN THE USA AND THE WORLD should be declared a national priority as well as a FUCKING EMERGENCY.