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My Lungs, Help!

By Anastasia Smith

“This happened to me”
Growing up, my grandma and grandpa were the only people I knew who smoked in my
family. My grandpa and grandma were lifelong smokers! Unfortunately, my grandma was
diagnosed with lung cancer in her mid-60s and passed away from it in her late 60s. She died
young because of lung cancer, and it has always stayed with me. I was 4 when she died, and I
never really understood why she died until later in my life. My grandpa on the other hand is still
kicking and is in his 90s and still smokes which is crazy to me. He had a healthcare scare a
couple of years ago when his oxygen was very low, and he almost died. He was diagnosed with
COPD which is not cancer. Lung cancer and any other cancer can take someone’s life at any
second.


“My story is not unique, here’s the problem”
Smoking and lung cancer affects a lot of people around the world, especially in the
United States. After doing some research, I came across some interesting statistics. Lung cancer
is not the most common cancer in the United States, but 1 in 17 people have lung cancer in the
United States which is 13% of all cancers diagnosed (2). The problem of lung cancer is not the
worst, but it also is not the best. The American Cancer Society estimates about 236,740 new
cases of lung cancer (117,910 in men and 118,830 in women) will occur in 2022. (1). Lung
cancer has also been the number one cancer that has killed women. It has killed about 1.4 times
the number of women than breast cancer has since 1987 (2) which is quite interesting. I would’ve never thought that, but it also tells us that this is a very serious cancer.

Many different people are diagnosed with lung cancer every year, however, who is most commonly diagnosed with lung cancer? Lung cancer usually occurs in people 65 and older
(Lung cancer statistics, how common is lung cancer). With all of this information, there are a lot of
questions that people can still have. One question I have is that, with all the access to vaping and
cigarettes, are they seeing an increase in people diagnosed with cancer at a
younger age? In my opinion, two main things are the problems, and there may be a few
things that we can do to help.

First off, there is a major population of older Americans that are
diagnosed with lung cancer. Is there anything we can do to decrease the risk of other Americans
getting it? The other problem is there are many people with lung cancer. A lot of people do not
have a great life after they are diagnosed with it. Is there anything we can do to make their life
better?

“Here is a non-profit working to solve the problem”
LunGevity is the organization that I have picked. It is helping to solve the problems
that I have addressed in the paragraph above. Their main purpose is to do
research and help people diagnosed with lung cancer have a better quality of life (3). LunGevity
makes sure that all people who have been diagnosed have the support they need and have high-
quality biomarker testing. They also run research studies to better understand how to help their
patients which helps them in the long run to help as many people as they can. This correlates
directly to the problem that I want to help prevent.

LunGevity suggests that we need to take immediate action to help people who are diagnosed with lung cancer and accelerate research into early detection and more effective treatments, as well as provide community, support, and
education for those affected by the disease. (4). Some more information about what
LunGevity can be found here on their website: https://www.lungevity.org

“Here’s what you (the reader) can do to help, right now!”
As the reader, I can tell anyone I know who has lung cancer that LunGevity has programs
to help them live with it and can talk about effective treatments. I can also donate money to any
non-profit that is helping combat lung cancer. Another thing that college students can do is hold
some type of fundraiser that helps raise money for lung cancer research. For example, putting on
a 5k where the entry fee to run is donated to a charity that does some type of work to combat lung
cancer. One specific thing that a person can do is go to The American Lung Association website
and donate money directly to them. This will help them do research to learn more about lung
cancer.

There are many things that people can do to help combat this cancer. Even if it is just
telling someone that smokes the risks of lung cancer, you may save a life. The little things
go a long way.

References

  1. Lung cancer statistics: How common is lung cancer? American Cancer Society. (n.d.).
    Retrieved September 15, 2022, from https://www.cancer.org/cancer/lung-
    cancer/about/key-statistics.html
  2. Lung cancer statistics. LUNGevity. (n.d.). Retrieved September 15, 2022, from
    https://www.lungevity.org/for-supporters-advocates/lung-cancer-awareness/lung-cancer-
    statistics
  3. About Us. LUNGevity. (n.d.). Retrieved September 15, 2022, from
    https://www.lungevity.org/about-us
  4. Mission, vision, & history. LUNGevity. (n.d.). Retrieved September 15, 2022, from
    https://www.lungevity.org/about-us/mission-vision-history

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