Lung Cancers and Stigma: Perception or Reality?

February 2015, Vol 6, No 1

Categories:

Lung Cancer

Who can I blame? I am 67 years old and have been a heavy smoker all my life. I have lived with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and was just diagnosed with lung cancer. I made my bed and now I have to sleep in it.

This patient vignette portrays the self-blame, suffering, and personal pain that a diagnosis of lung cancer may precipitate in patients who smoked cigarettes for a significant part of their life. Lung cancers are the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States.1

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Lung and bronchus cancer, the second most common form of cancer, accounts for 13.5% of all new cancer cases in the United States. In 2018 alone, lung cancer was newly diagnosed in 234,030 individuals and accounted for 154,050 deaths. In fact, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related mortality in men and women, and is responsible for more than 25% of all cancer deaths. The 5-year survival rate for patients whose lung cancer has spread regionally (to regional lymph nodes) is 29.7%, but that survival rate is only 4.7% for patients with distant metastases.
Last modified: March 17, 2017

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