If you had to guess the number one cancer killer of women, what would you say? Breast cancer? Cervical Cancer? Here's a shocker: Lung Cancer kills almost twice as many woman as any other cancer. And according to a recent survey by the American Lung Association (ALA), only ONE percent of women cited lung cancer when asked to name cancers that affect women.
No wonder ALA is advocating for an increase in funding for lung cancer research. And together with CVS, they've launched a new movement called Lung Force, dedicated to raising awareness of this deadly cancer. First up on their agenda: ending the sale of cigarettes at all CVS stores by October 1, 2014. Huge news, right?!
More: Lung Cancer Overview
Award-winning television and Broadway actress Valerie Harper was thrilled to join this powerful campaign. After being diagnosed with lung cancer in 2009, she was surgically cured, but the cancer returned in 2013. At that time, doctors told her she had just months to live. "It was a shock, because I never smoked," says Valerie. Now a year and four months later, Valerie is ready to raise awareness and remove the stigma associated with lung cancer.
"[They say] 'Oh, you smoked, huh?' I go, 'No. I'm in my seventies, and I never smoked a day in my life,'" says Valerie. "But there's second-hand smoke, there's radon, there's behavior, and your genes."
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Yet nearly half of more than 1,000 women in the recent survey said they aren't concerned about getting lung cancer, because they never smoked. It's a damaging misconception that needs to be corrected, says Valerie. But even though lung cancer is certainly possible in non-smokers, ditching cigarettes is still the best thing you can do to lower your risk.
"We're here because women should not be dying in these numbers and with so little research funding," says Valerie. "It's getting better all the time. It needs to be getting better faster." To get involved in spreading awareness and raising funding for lung cancer research, visit Lungforce.org.
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