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Well, Toto, looks like we're not in Kansas anymore!

Suzie Q

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Greetings to all. I've been lurking for about a week and a half, acquiring info and in a way, getting to know you. I'm not happy to be here, but welcome your advice and support.

My mom was recently diagnosed with stage IV NSCLC. She has mets in the opposite lung, and the primary is inoperable. What started as supposed pnuemonia(sound familiar, anyone?) has turned our lives around. She really didn't display any symptoms until March of this year, when she got a cold and had presumed pneumonia. A round of antibiotics didn't improve things, so she went on another course of antibiotics. Still not better, she was referred to a thoracic surgeon after CT showed pleural effusion. Bronchoscopy biopsy showed malignancy, pleural fluid showed malingant cells as well.

She's in a clinical trial, completed one round, and is remarkably better. However, follow-up CT will be done after second round of chemo to see if she really IS better.

So, my big question of the day is: "Does anyone else think breast cancer is the media darling, and have you noticed better programs with extra perks for breast ca patients?" Sure seems like it. Nearly every person asks if Mom smoked, like she did this to herself. And even her primary doctor (who is mine also) was misinformed in saying that it is rare that non-smokers get lung ca.

Sorry to ramble and jump around in subject matter, but I had to get that off my chest. Feel free to shoot comments my way!

Karen (mom always called me Suzie Q, hence the screen name)

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Suzie Q,

I agree. I'm glad breast cancer gets the attention it does but lung cancer needs the exposure too. Some people have actually said things like "What's your problem, Why did you get lung cancer". Even health issues have a perceived ranking.

Blessings to you and your mother.


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Dear SuzieQ,

Welcome to the board no one wants to join. I hope the clinical trial is very successful for your dear Mother.

I am one who hopes that this site becomes the 'Susan B. Komen' of lung cancer. It will take time and exposure, but why not. It is about time that lung cancer got the advocacy and funding that it deserves.


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Hi Suzie,

Welcome to a place where no one wants to be. Yes, pneumonia sounds familar and the stigma put on LC..It amazes me that doctors still think it is rare to have LC and never have smoked, anyway thats a whole different story..I wanted to welcome you and find out where in Mi you are..It seems like we are getting many more members from Mi....

P:S My aunt use to call my cousin Suzie Q

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Hello and welcome. Your story has a familiar ring. Breast cancer runs in my family so I am glad they are making great strides there BUT I really know that people do not realize that lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death, and the leading cause of cancer death for women. I know they do not realize how many young people who never smoked are getting lung cancer, especially women. I also know that lung cancer research is way under funded compared to other cancers. I see you picked up on that rather quickly. I hope that we can help you and support you and your Mom with this journey. Please keep us posted on how things are going. Donna G

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Welcome, Karen.

I would be one of those non-entities....I'm a non-smoker with lung cancer. There are quite a few of us here... Sure wish the doctor was right and that non-smokers had no chance of being here... But that's beside the point!

Many, many arguments here of the attention breast cancer gets over lung cancer. My thought? Breast cancer and prostate cancer are related to "sex"...sex sells, right? If breathing were sexy... :roll:

There are many stigma attached to lung cancer, as there was to AIDS in the 80s. We just need to ejukate the public to the REAL risks and the REAL disease and work towards finding a cure.

Work through the anger, your mother DID NOT do this to herself, and no one DESERVES the suffering this disease brings. Yet another lesson in "Sh*t happens" and "Life's not fair"... Deep breath, and keep moving.

Welcome, again, to the family and the journey. The journey itself sucks, but the traveling companions are great!

Take care,


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Thanks everyone. And for the record, I am certainly glad that breast cancer is talked about as freely as it is, and that progress will be made with treatment.

I think part of the lack of media exposure for lung ca is that there is no effective screening for it. Mammograms are inexpensive, so is the PSA test, although I am not convinced the death rates from breast ca have improved all that much despite the increased push for regular mammos. And prostate cancer tends to be less aggressive and is more treatable. Plus, most people are horrified with the thought of having a sex organ removed, which ups the ante for more advocacy with the general public.

I did just read in USA Today Thursday, that NIH is doing a study to determine if spiral CTs will be effective as screening tool, though they are following only smokers, and for 7 years. So we won't know the results of that one for a while.

My mom's cancer center is somewhat new, and they want to have the multidisciplinary approach. Right now, they have only implemented it for breast cancer. Too bad, because my dad had melanoma and went to the Univ of MI melanoma clinic, which has this multidisciplinary approach, and they loved it. Also, my mom's cancer center gives breast cancer patients a special packet, with info on all the complementary treatments offered at the center like accupuncture, massage, etc., and a CD with relaxation music they can listen to, especially during chemo treatment. So yeah, I'm a bit miffed. Mom didn't even get an informational packet - we had to wander around the center to find the accupuncture office and get brochures on our own, and so on.

We're in the Grand Rapids area. Where are all you other midwesterners?


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I'm a breast cancer survivor as well and I think that the reason breast cancer is the media darling is because of the extreme activism in that fight. Susan B. Komen lost her life to breast cancer. She had a sister named Nancy Brinker who promised that she would make a difference in the fight against breast cancer in honor of her sister.

Lots of work was done, and, as with all successful things, some luck was involved, and a sort of synergy happened. Some famous people were stricken with breast cancer and it was put out there in front of everybody and got a lot of attention. Plus, it was proven that mammography and early detection can save lives of those diagnosed with breast cancer. I think you're right in that there is not really an effective early detection test for lung cancer, but I wonder why people aren't being advised by their doctors to get a simple chest x-ray every year.

As for me, the only reason my breast cancer was detected was because of that routine mammogram--I had no lump. And, I can even take it a step further--it was only because of a follow-up exam with my breast surgeon that I had that chest x-ray that led to this early stage diagnosis--I felt fine and had no symptoms whatsoever.

So, yes, lung cancer does not get the press it deserves, and therefore remains misunderstood. But I am one survivor who is grateful for the Nancy Brinkers of the world--that early stage breast cancer diagnosis probably inadvertantly saved my life.

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