November is national lung cancer awareness month, thirty days devoted to increasing public perception of our shitty disease. And for those who are counting, breast cancer, in October, gets thirty-one.
But then, seriously, WTF with these days and these months? Does anybody really believe that white ribboned apparel is flying off the shelves? And even if it is, that it truly makes a difference to anybody but the t-shirt vendor?
I guess 160,000 people dying annually isn’t attention grabbing enough.
You know how many lung cancer months I have personally observed? 163, the number of Jan/Feb/Mar etc… since my own diagnosis with lung cancer. I, like most people, never gave lung cancer a thought until it smacked me hard upside the head.
Therein lies the problem. How do we entice others to care about something that seemingly has no impact on their own lives?
I understand that a day and a month devoted to lung cancer awareness is well intended. But to me, an increasingly cranky iconoclast, it actually trivializes my experience.
What I want (and no, I don’t believe it is too much to ask) is for people to be aware of lung cancer every single day and month. To understand that not only is it important to care about those who have already been diagnosed, it is also critical that we all start thinking about the air we breathe. Because that, my friends, is the one thing that all of us with lung cancer share. We inhaled–exposing the tissue in our lungs to harmful particulates and carcinogens in the atmosphere surrounding us. 960 times an hour, with the average person taking between 17,280 and 23,040 breaths daily.
So yes, awareness of lung cancer should be as secondary to daily living as breathing in and out. Because baby, that’s risky business. If you’ve got lungs, you can get lung cancer.
And that’s enough to make a person care.