Kaye Paterson Appeals for More Funds

Lung cancer, also known as pulmonary carcinoma, is one of the leading causes of death globally. In 2012, the deadly and fatal disease claimed the lives of 1.2 million people worldwide. Despite the disease’s lethal nature, awareness and research are not well-funded and supported because majority of the population feels that lung cancer is self-inflicted.

One of the major contributing factors for the development of cancer is smoking. And 80% of patients who acquired the deadly disease smoke more than one pack of cigarette per day. Because of such health damaging habit, many people have the impression that lung cancer is self-inflicted. For that reason, lung cancer lags behind other types or forms of cancer in terms of awareness, research and funding.

Kaye Paterson, one of the millions who suffered from lung cancer, is greatly disappointed knowing such fact. She even gets angry seeing immense support and awareness for breast cancer especially during the month of October wherein she sees a lot of pink – pink ribbons, pink shirts and pink bracelets – around to steer attention. She questions why everything does not turn white in November as support for lung cancer.

Paterson was diagnosed with Stage IV non-small lung cancer at the age of 30. Both of her lungs were affected and the cancer could not be removed through surgical operation.

One of the things that make lung cancer deadly is that it is hard to diagnose. It is often detected late, or when it is already in Stage IV which makes it even more difficult to treat. Unlike skin or breast cancer, patients suffering from lung cancer do not display symptoms that would make them suspect of the disease. Coughing and DOB or difficulty of breathing, which are usually the signs and symptoms, are considered as part of life for people who smoke.

Paterson was 27 when she first noticed a persistent cough. She never smoked, did not grow up in a smoking home, and was a very active athlete – a former high school hockey and soccer player. She did not suspect of cancer nor did her doctors, and in 2007, they diagnosed her condition as acid-reflux.

But in 2011, Paterson’s doctors told her that she had lung cancer after reading the results of her needle biopsy through her side. She was heavily devastated. And what made her even more upset was that people thought she was a smoker, the probable reason for getting the disease.

Accusing lung cancer victims for causing their disease (which is largely due to smoking) started from public service campaigns from the 1970's wherein the people behind such campaigns greatly blamed the patients and their smoking habits. The stigma resulted to doctors and other health practitioners becoming less compassionate to lung cancer sufferers, and patients often blaming themselves and becoming laid back when it comes to seeking treatment.

And because most people see that lung cancer is self-inflicted, awareness to the disease is not very much raised. Research and funding are not well-supported causing lesser medical options and treatments for the victims.

For this reason, Paterson appeals for more funds and support to the victims of lung cancer. Not all sufferers of the disease are smokers, and even if many of the patients are cigarette or tobacco smokers, it still would not help to blame them for causing their disease. Instead, Paterson asks for support to raise awareness and money to fund research and development of medications or drugs and more treatment options for the patients.

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