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I have to tell you all about my cancer lecture.


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Every term, I lecture on cancer to my junior nursing students. Last term, I tried something new. I added a discussion on why lung cancer was not as "popular" as breast and prostate cancer. First, I asked them how many had heard of Komen & Race for the Cure - and of course everyone had. I asked how many had heard of ALCASE. No one. Then I asked them why, given that more people die of lung cancer. The students are very bright - this term and last, they said it was because people are blamed for having lung cancer.

I ended the lecture talking about my Dad, a long-time smoker, addicted to tobacco long before society became anti-smoking. I told them that the military gave cigarettes to our troops; in fact, required that a pack be in their foot lockers at inspection. I amazed them, saying that when I first started nursing, people smoked in the coronary care unit! Then I dedicated the lecture to my father and showed his picture. I always get a bit choked up here, but the students are so WONDERFUL! They thanked me for sharing this personal information. This term, I brought along a bagful of lung cancer pins, and EVERY STUDENT TOOK ONE! I thought I would run out.

Disclosing personal information, especially when it gets you all choked up, is risky in the classroom, but I'm SO glad I did it. And what a caring group of people these nursing students proved themselves to be!

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