A Breath of Hope Lung Foundation’s executive director, Nancy Torrison met with Vice President Biden and his senior adviser Don Graves, U.S. Representative Rick Nolan and a small group of Minnesota cancer leaders to discuss the Cancer Moonshot 2020. With stage 4 lung cancer patient, Katherine Bensen, present to share her real-life story, the two women had an amazing opportunity to state and emphasize the often-obscured facts about lung cancer to the group.
1. Lung cancer claims more American lives than breast, colon and prostate cancers combined, yet screening is not available to most citizens and lung cancer research is disproportionately funded;
2. Twice as many women die of lung cancer each year as compared to breast cancer. It should be noted that the total number of women lost to breast cancer is about the same number as nonsmoking women lost to lung cancer. We screen for only one of these cancers; and
3. Lung cancer patients suffer additional anxiety when they feel judged and blamed for their diagnosis. The smoking stigma hurts both smokers and nonsmokers who have lung cancer. It serves no purpose and delays progress in improving the survival rate of 17.8%.