Nearly six years ago, Karen Arscott, D.O., was diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer. Since then, Dr. Arscott's cancer has gone into remission, but she continues her fight with another battle: raising awareness about lung cancer.
"[Lung cancer] kills more people than the next four cancers combined," she said. "Lung cancer does not get the level of attention—the support—as other cancers. The attitude is, 'People gave it to themselves'. There is a stigma attached to their death that just isn't fair."
A lung cancer awareness vigil will take place in Marywood University's Latour Room on Tuesday, November 1, at 7:30 p.m. Guests are asked to register online for free and to submit photos of loved ones touched by lung cancer for use in a slideshow. There will be music, speakers and light refreshments.
Listen to Dr. Arscott describe the upcoming lung cancer awareness vigil.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 80 percent of lung cancers diagnosed today occur in those who either have never smoked or quit smoking in the past. Cigarette smoking, including a past history of smoking, remains the leading cause of lung cancer and other cancers. What's more, secondhand smoke is believed to account for about 3,400 lung cancer deaths per year in those who have never smoked. The overall survival rate for those with lung cancer remains at around 15 percent, which is the same as 40 years ago.
As a lung cancer survivor, Dr. Arscott's goal in raising awareness is to fight the "stigma" attached to the disease.
"I've had two bouts with lung cancer," she explained. "I was never a smoker, and I've never had secondhand smoke exposure. There are a lot of challenges for lung cancer. There is a stigma attached to it. People don't want to hear or talk about lung cancer patients."
November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, and the vigil at Marywood University is being held in conjunction with other national events. Moreover, Dr. Arscott says she will continue her efforts to raise lung cancer awareness.
"If everybody stopped smoking tomorrow, we would still have lung cancer," Dr. Arscott said. "We have to start focusing more attention on the population that doesn't smoke, which composes 80 percent of lung cancer patients. We need to raise awareness and offer support to those with lung cancer."
For more information, please contact Karen Arscott, D.O., program director, at (570) 348-2175 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To register for free, visit www.lungcanceralliance.org/shinealightonlungcancer.
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