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My letter to Canadian Cancer Society


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Following is an e-mail I just sent to the Canadian Cancer Society - we'll see what happens...

Dear Debora:

I am a survivor who was diagnosed with a rare form of lung cancer (coming up to 4 years on June 20th) and had a lobe of my lung removed. I belong to several lung cancer boards helping others who are faced with the same frightening diagnosis. I have heard many disparaging comments about the American/Canadian Cancer Society's with regard to the way they treat lung cancer. It seems the only propaganda is to "quit smoking"; however, it is well known that former and non-smokers make up the majority of current lung cancer statistics. It is the cancer that kills the most and blames the victim the most.

I have been entertaining the idea of putting together a work team to participate in the Relay; however, I am having conflicting emotions. Last year, while attending the Survivor's dinner the most talked about cancer was breast cancer and the least talked about was lung cancer. Then, only a fifteen second comment on smoking and how it causes lung cancer. If this was true would not EVERY smoker have lung cancer and NO non-smokers ever be afflicted. It is such a burden to carry guilt and shame when diagnosed with a life threatening disease.

Is there any possibility that the Canadian Cancer Society can move up with the times and educate in a manner such as "Desperate Housewives" Kathryn Joosten did last week (awesome episode for those with lung cancer and don't blame the victim comment!) No one knows who will be diagnosed with this disease - it could be genetics, the food supply, or the environmental toxins we are all exposed to.

I HATE that the first question out of someone's mouth upon learning of my diagnosis is "Did you smoke?" No-one ever asks a colon cancer/breast cancer patient - did you eat too much fat and not enough fruits and vegetables. A cancer patient should NEVER have to explain "why" cancer exists in their body.

I want to be part of a movement that educates and informs - not belittles and criticizes. I know I am a little voice, but perhaps others will join and I can create a louder voice. Is there any way you can help make my voice be heard?

Debora's response was wonderful - "I would be thrilled to pass on your letter to those that have input into our policy making! Thanks so much for sharing your experiences.

I have dealt with her in the past and I know she cares - perhaps this will be the start of some changes. I will keep you updated.

Hugs to everyone,

Linda (Sorry it was so lengthy!)

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Linda, with your permission, I will borrow from you letter as well. Because I am still under treatment, I haven't yet been able to take a significant advocacy stand. I am in remission again, however, and am planning on trying something in the local paper or TV next November. This will be my main impetus--to make people aware how wrong it is to blame the victims of lung cancer for their cancer and consequently to keep us at the bottom of the heap in terms of cancer research funds when so many are dying from this dread disease.

Thank you for sharing this.


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This is great. I may borrow this for our Relay event coming up. My list of grievances against the ACS is a long one.

1. Last year they published ribbon colors for all the different cancers as a Relay fundraiser. Guess which one wasn't mentioned? Guess who got a piece of my mind?

2 When the Governor signed the proclimation signging naming November as Lung Cancer Awareness month in 2009, I invited the ACS but they didn't show.

3. One of our legislators wants to push cancer causes. he invited Doctors from the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center and the ACS to his hearing. Gues what they decided the four most diagnosed cancers in Alabama were? Breast, Colorectal, Cervical and Tobacco-related cancers. They didn't even call it lung cancer (and cervical cancer is NOT one of the top 4 diagnosed cancers according to the Alabama cancer statistics, but it was the research and treatment specialty of the Doc they invited to participate). Yup. They got a piece of my mind then too.

I have no use for the ACS and refuse to give them any money.


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