Jump to content

Even doctors make it about being a smokers disease

Nick C

Recommended Posts

So I went to a Gene Therapy Cancer treatment seminar.

The research is amazing, and we'll definitely be looking at this as a great initiative to fund. BUT>>>

one of the docs was speaking on breast cancer, quoted the stats, and there is Breast cancer as the second leading cause of acancer deaths in women.

Followed by her statement "Lung Cancer of course being the leading cause. Thus I encourage smoking ceasation" and then she went on with the breast cancer talk...


Let's perpetuate the stereotype that this is a smokers disease...you are a DOCTOR!!! DO NO HARM. STATEMENTS LIKE THAT DO HARM!!!

She's getting a note from me, first thanking her for dedicating her life to doing research...for that she should be thanked. And then I will encourage her in future talks to state that if she must stateLung Cancer is the leading cause, do so. And stop there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nick - equally as disturbing are the new commercials that simplify the entire lung cancer scenario - don't smoke and you won't get lung cancer is the message. This, sponsored by the government - how disappointing! No, I don't want my kids to smoke; however, I want them to also know that it is not a guarantee that they won't get lung cancer. Frustrating isn't it - seems like the stigma will never go away. So very sad.

Keep up the good work at complimenting and correcting her delivery - I always think if we can educate one, the rest will eventually follow (wishful thinking?!?!?).


Link to comment
Share on other sites


More noise must be made!


PS: I guess I was a bit deceitful as of late. Recently a person I just happened upon and discovered my LC asked me if I smoke. She did NOT say had I smokeD....but do I smoke. So I simply answered 'NO'. I DON't smoke NOW, so I answered honestly. She just looked at me blankly. Maybe those of us who used to smoke should start lying!!!! No, I am not recommending that ~ but honestly don't know how to stop the stigma!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is ridiculis already. I wonder how many doctors had stopped smoking years ago who have come down with the disease?? As we know no one is immuned to this disease.

Yes of course you should not smoke but you are not immuned just because you stopped years ago. That is why we need rearched and also gene research as I feel weak lungs can be genetic.

Kasey when someone I don't know asks me if Joel smoked. I say he stopped years ago. You should their faces then.

:evil: grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr


Link to comment
Share on other sites


Last year I attended the National Lung Cancer Partnership annual meeting on the cusp of the huge ASCO meetings in Chicago.

During this meeting there was an hour long presentation about smoking cessation and tobacco legislation that needed to be passed and how rates of smoking in other countries compares to the US and how that relates to the lung cancer rates.....

All I kept thinking was HOW CAN YOU BE WASTING OUR TIME like this???

First off, I understand it was a meeting of professionals and not an "awareness event"...ok, I get it...

But the smoking statistics are redundant to those in this field, doctors and patients and advocates alike....already dealing with LC...so what the issue SHOULD BE at these meetings are a focus on early detection and the dire need for research to treat and cure the disease.

Even at the Lance Armstrong Summit there was the former attorney general who continually brought up smoking and lung cancer.

I was severely dissapointed.

What I want to say is...

1) Not everyone who smokes gets lung cancer which means people who have NEVER smoked, get lung cancer too.

2) Those who DO smoke and get lung cancer do not deserve to die. And deserve the quality of care and funding and treatment options as other cancers.

3) Focus on funding...this is an epidemic, it kills more each year than any other cancer....and you're not doing a damn thing about it.

It's going to be something you face ALOT in your advocacy, Nick...turn the dissapointment and anger into action....educate them along the way and be heard...when given the chance- stand up and ask your questions.

I wrote to the LAF about the former surgeon generals comments, I posted on their feedback site and in a roundtable discussion at the NLCP Meeting last year I spoke up about what was said to the founders and ED of the organization (who happen to be Dr.'s!)

The lance armstrong foundation no longer talks about smoking when talking about the need for lung cancer funding- They keep the smoking cessation issue in a section pertaining to prevention- not as a blaming factor when discussing lung cancer, and I will bet the NLCP won't have an hour long presentation on smoking either this year.

Keep it up...small steps lead to a successful journey.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Its just so frustrating - its like we are the "dirty" cancer. I do not believe that any of us deserve to be thought of like this. I used to work at a Med Center and stood outside with a lots of docs who smoked.......and the one who did die of lung cancer had never smoked a cigarette in her life!!

I went to breakfast this morning with 2 girls who I met during chemo who are breast cancer surviviors. I love them dearly. But they were going on and on about all these awareness functions they are going to and even an event here at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next month which their onc gave them tickets to for Breast Cancer Prevention. A semi-formal affair!! Dinner, tour of the facility, etc. Gee - would anyone do that for us??? Its like they couldn't help getting cancer but we deserve it. Its so frustrating. Noone deserves this!!

I will get off my soap box now........give 'em hell, Nick!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I may be in the minority, but I think that much as we would like less of the focus to be on smoking, the simple fact is that the majority of LC is indeed asociated with smoking! Depending on the source, the rate is anywhere from 75 to 90%.

Think of the decrease in LC cases if that one risk factor was eliminated! That is HUGE, folks. And the truth is, there may be quite a few former smokers with a very, very remote history of smoking, who carried that risk even though their oncs told them that the smoking did not cause the LC since it had been such a long time between their quitting and the diagnosis of LC. We can't be sure that there are not changes in the lung tissue that occur from smoking that lie dormant for YEARS, waiting for the right "trigger" to activate the cancer.

So, while I agree that the focus needs to be on early detection and effective treatment, we cannot deny that smoking does have a strong correlation with LC. I wish there were not such a stigma associated with it, as NOBODY deserves this horrific disease. And I agree that women are in especially great need to be educated on the risks of LC, even if they never smoked. Most women are very aware of breast cancer but are completely unaware of the fact that LC kills more women than all three "female" cancers combined.

I am so heartened by your passion, Nick. Continue your advocacy. It's a tribute to your mom's memory.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Karen I agree with you 100 percent. NOBODY "deserves" to have lung cancer and I know that not all lung cancer is caused by smoking but it is a risk factor that we can and should eliminate. We are banning trans fat in food and then selling a proven cancer causing agent right down the street. It makes no sense to me(and I am an ex smoker)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey Nick...

First I want to thank you for the wonderful job you are doing and when "they' come up with this BS...it is only going to make you work harder and BE HEARD..

Ok..it's true...we know smoking is a big risk factor...but I am so %$#^&* sick and tired of hearing "DID YOU SMOKE"...Yes!!! I smoked..but quit 8 yrs before I was dx and my LC DID NOT COME FROM SMOKING IT WAS BAC....not smoking related at all...

So there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!...grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

hugs Nick for a job well done and doing

Link to comment
Share on other sites


I agree with you 100% on the fact that eliminating smoking would eliminate a huge majority of LC...but we are talking two sides of the fence here.

There are organizations (HUGE ones with big $$) that promote smoking cessation programs, lots of publicity, smoke-free state and national legislation has passed, and anti-tobacco education in schools is prevelent, etc...

That's great. Keep it up. Make people aware that smoking related deaths total over 400,000 a year...yes. Good job. They get the publicity and PSAs and are heavily funded- but that's their job.

What our (my, me,you, whoever, etc..) goal as lung cancer advocates is to advocate for quality care for people who have lung cancer now. We are dealing with the disease itself, not it's cause...much like those who advocate for breast cancer funding...they wanted more awareness and treatment options...the focus was the cure not the cause... they've done a great job and made a lot of noise and obtained a lot of funding.

That's what we want to do when we raise the issue that non smokers get lung cancer too....or emphasize that smoking is legal and people who have smoked and gotten lung cancer DO NOT deserve this disease and do not deserve to die.

What we do as advocates for lung cancer awareness and research is try to take smoking out of the equation altogether and focus on lack of funding, treatment options for a cure, or if the smoking issue is the brick wall causing prejudice, blame or indifference, we raise the issue that a fourth of all LC is not smoking related, to make people aware that even if they never smoked, LC can touch them too.

I'm all for anti-smoking education and legislation...and I'll let those folks lobby and work that side of the fence.

My side of the fence is full of patients and family members who are dealing with an LC dx. today.

Gosh I love this topic...it fires us up doesn't it?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi All~

Fired up, just dosn't say it all :evil: . When people ask did I smoke, I try to put a twist on it, I answer yes.....and your point is? kind of tone. Could you imagine if you asked a real fat person on oxygen ,who has hardning of the arteries, Did you geat a lot of big macs? I mean really. Lets band together tightly, and press on with education for comfort and cure.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Go Get them Nick!

I'm new the LC world, but this really gets me PO'd. The links to smoking are absolute, 80%-90% of people that get it smoke or smoked. Can we say that none of these people would have gotten LC if they never smoked? No we can't, its impossible!

No one can say that some of those 80-90 wouldn't be similiar to the 10-20 that do get it and NEVER smoked. The exact time and genetic make up of the LC may have varied, but to say LC would be eliminated is a leap in logic.

My dad got his at 63 and smoked. If he never smoked: it may not have happened till 68, 73, 83 or never. I don't doubt his smoking has cost him, but how much we will never know. No one knows for sure except the man(or woman) upstairs.

NO ONE deserves this or any disease, so let's keep the positive thinking and funding to make this a treatable disease for everyone!

Sorry for the rant....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What about the 80% of people that do smoke and they never get lung cancer? What about the second leading cause of lung cancer, RADON?

There is so much money being pumped into smoking cessation progams, it's pathetic, and so little for the treatment of lung cancer or early detection of lung cancer.

Everyone knows smoking is bad for you, in more ways then just lung cancer. EVERYONE KNOWS THAT and it's not secret anymore, it's been let out of the bag! :roll::wink: Billions of dollars go to smoking cessation programs and yet people are still smoking, and people are being diagnosed with lung cancer that never smoked. Not to mention those poor souls that quit smoking and still get the evil eye or nasty remarks because they DID smoke! What ever happened to a good old pat on the back and a atta girl/boy card for quiting?

Lets focus on early detection for lung cancer, & new treatments for lung cancer. Did you know that there has been NO NEW treatment lines in YEARS for Small Cell Lung Cancer? :( How sad is that????

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If it helps - I recently had a treadmill test. They had an "assembly line" mentality at this place and I had to stop at several stations with various techs/ nurses/docs. At each stop, they asked about my health history. Nobody asked me if I smoked. They just congratulated me on being 7 years out. A first for me I think. :)

Everyday for the last year or so, I've heard at least one commercial about a non-smoker getting LC- either on the radio or TV. More and more Californians understand that never smokers can get LC too. This is one of the reasons California (and recently other states) passed smoking laws.

No one deserves LC, but most LC is caused by tobacco. We should focus our anger on our government that looks the other way because of big tobacco $$$. If asbestos is illegal, then why isn't tobacco?


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Katie, I am with you 100% on the advocacy issue. I totally agree that we need to get the focus on early detection and better treatment options for those with LC.

But given the stats, we should not be surprised that there is a heavy lean toward the smoking issue...and I think that's what Nick was venting about - that even medical professionals make it about smoking. Well...isn't it? If over 80% of childhood leukemia were related to drinking cow's milk, would we not try to discourage drinking milk?

People are fallible and make really stupid mistakes and say completely idiotic things. I still get irked when asked what I know about my daughters' "real" or "natural" parents (our girls are ours by adoption), but I've learned to just let it go. It's not worth the aggravation.

All that aside, I would also like to see more awareness of the disease and work toward a CURE. I would love to see Andie McDowell do a PSA about LC just like the one she does for ovarian ca (another cancer usually not detected until late and without reliable screening tests)!

BTW, I did not intend to hijack Nick's thread. Sorry! :oops:

My apologies to anyone I may have offended.


Link to comment
Share on other sites


I don't think you hijacked anything, actually, there is a logic to be applied here, and we all have an opportunity to perfect and communicate the logic. So this is a good thing.

Smoking ABSTENTION is a huge step at decreasing the instances of LC...so let's get that message to the kids, let's fine the CRAP out of any retail establishment who sells to someone under age.

However ceasationn is NOT going to fix the problem. My mother ceased several times. I have a feeling there are a lot of quitters here. If ceasation is the "right thing" then why have so many turned their back on those who have done the right thing? It's still 80K americans who either never did the "wrong" thing or did the "right" thing and quit, get this disease anyway.

Also, I've made this statement a lot in the last 15 months. My house where I grew up, which is where my mom grew up had an EXTRAORDINARY amount of radon. You all might one day see that post from me, that I have this disease. I've never even smoked a ham! But then I'll be considered an "annomally".

If 2007 saw 200K americans diagnosed, and 10% never smoked, that's still 20K americans!!! 20K!!!!! 20K is not an annomally!

So yes, kids don't smoke! Yes if you smoke, quit. Tobacco companies have blood on their hands for sure.

But every person desrves to be a grandparent, every person deserves to see their child held by their mom and dad. Every person should die of something other than Lung Cancer, regardless of how they lived their life.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nick, you are so right.

Everyone deserved the chance to be a parent or grandparent. Snd all kids deserve to HAAVE a parents and grandparents. And sadly, this disease robs of way too many of both!

So let's take our anger and passion about the negative comments and negative view of lung cancer as being a "you brought it on yourself' disease (a view I abhor), and channel that energy into awareness, research into early detection and treatment options...and a CURE!


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very well said Nick. My 1st (and 2nd) child is due in May and seeing Pops hold them is huge to me. If this becomes treatable, they may even get to know/speak to him. But I cannot look that far ahead.

Karen...no offense here. My wife & I have this same "discussion" with similiar effects.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.