About faces

Sometimes little things can just hit me oh so wrong.

For instance, any mention of the ‘new face of lung cancer.’ This, my friends, is fantasy and fallacy. To be sure, there is a small but not insignificant uptick in the percentage of young, never smokers being diagnosed. However this does not constitute a new face.

New face is, just like emphasis on never smokers, unintentionally but inherently prejudicial. Bottom line, anyone can get lung cancer and no one deserves it.

The only context in which I mention my nonsmoking status anymore is when I am discussing my delayed diagnosis. Had I a smoking history, my shortness of breath and ongoing cough would not have been explained away by ‘adult onset asthma.’ Lung cancer would have been considered as a possible diagnosis and frankly I, the patient, would have inquired about the possibility. As it was, back in in 2001 (when I first became symptomatic) you never heard a peep about nonsmokers with lung cancer.

But, now we know. And although it is good to continue educating the general public, we should never do so at the expense of compassion or the advancement of bias.

Air is something we all share. And breathing is the single biggest risk factor for lung cancer.

No shame, no blame.

3 responses to “About faces

  1. I smoked for 35 years and quit 20 years before my cancer diagnosis. My oncologist said my smoking had nothing to do with my ALK+ Cancer so when people ask me if I smoked ( and they always do) I say no. I don’t need their bs judgment

  2. Yes, raising consciousness in general is always the goal!❤️✊🏽

  3. Linnea, I’m sorry. I admit that when Peter was first diagnosed in 2013; we were all shocked. He had never smoked. He was very active and was in amazing shape. He was the last person anyone would have thought would be diagnosed with stage IV, ALK-NSCLC, having just turned 48. It was not real!
    I have to admit that I succumbed to the bias, by always making clear to everyone, “and he has never smoked in his life!” I didn’t want him to be judged as a smoker and receive any less compassion, or perhaps even, that it could impact the attitude of caregivers.
    But I did quickly learn to say; after the first question everyone asked me; “did Peter smoke?” – – “No, he did not, but that doesn’t matter, anyone can get lung cancer!” And you’re right; Nobody deserves it!

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