The Cancer Club
Now that I am a member of the Cancer Club, I am very aware of other members and keep watch on how they are doing. I am always hopeful and am glad when news is good and they are doing well. Often I do not get to see people for a while and do not know what is going on. Then suddenly I hear bad news and I am taken by surprise. Those in the know are not surprised because things changed and have not been going well for a while, but I did not know.
While we were in Houston visiting our son and family this weekend, a lovely women Audrey Whitman died from lung cancer. I knew she had cancer but wasn’t even sure exactly which was the primary kind. When I went to see her husband Paul sitting shiva today, he had handouts about lung cancer which were very informative. On November 5, 2012, the same day Audrey left Hahnemann Hospital, an article appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer, written by Bridget Huber entitled The Neglected Cancer. She starts by stating that lung cancer kills more people than any other cancer. This year it will kill about 160,340 Americans, more than breast, colon and prostate cancers combine. Yet, while lung cancer remains a death sentence- just 15.6% of those diagnosed are alive in 5 years, the federal government funds far less research on the disease than on other common cancers.
There seems to be a stigma of smoking to blame for this. that stigma keeps some families and patients from speaking out. In fact, an estimated 15% of lung cancers are diagnosed in people who never smoked. If lung cancer in people who never smoked were considered a separate disease, it would still be the 6th-leading cancer killer in the United States, ahead of liver, ovarian, and esophageal cancers. Here’s hoping for a cure for all cancers!
Audrey was an energetic and dynamic women who added light and sparkle to the world. Our community is dimmed by her loss.