February 4, 2020 – Today is World Cancer Day. In recognition of all the people diagnosed with lung cancer, The Lung Association launched two initiatives to acknowledge the top two leading causes of lung cancer – tobacco use and radon exposure. We are working hard to end the stigma around lung cancer, as we believe all people should be treated with respect regardless of their diagnosis, and we want all lung cancer patients to feel supported.
Lung cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Canada (excluding non-melanoma skin cancers). It is the leading cause of death from cancer for both men and women in our country. It is estimated in 2020, that 29,800 Canadians were diagnosed with lung cancer and 21,200 Canadians will die from it. This represents 25% of all cancer deaths.
#1 CAUSE OF LUNG CANCER DUE - SMOKING
Smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer. Smoking damages your lungs' natural cleaning and repair system and traps cancer-causing chemicals in. Smoking permanently damages the alveoli (air sacs) in the lungs, making it hard to breathe.
To assist Saskatchewan residents who are thinking about, or ready to quit smoking, The Lung Association is announcing the creation of “Saskatchewan Quits!”, an online Facebook support group to assist people on their journey. This holistic, motivational support group is designed to assist anyone who would like to quit their nicotine addiction. “We want to end the stigma around lung cancer and want all residents of Saskatchewan to know that they are supported by The Lung Association. Our health promotion team is excited to inspire, and learn from, Saskatchewan residents who are addicted to nicotine (either through smoking or vaping). We welcome you to join the Lung Family and fellow Saskatchewan peers for support,” says Jennifer May, the Vice-President of Health Promotion and Government Relations.
#2 CAUSE OF LUNG CANCER – RADON EXPOSURE
Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in Canada and Saskatchewan is considered a radon hotspot. The Lung Association has partnered with people across Canada to share their radon experiences. Janet Whitehead, was constantly short of breath and had a cough that just wouldn’t go away. After a series of tests, her doctor discovered cancerous tumours in her lungs and she was given four months to live, unless she underwent immediate surgery to remove the tumours in both of her lungs. Janet says, “everyone I came into contact with asked me the same questions, ‘So you smoked?’ or ‘You must have worked with people who smoked?’, to which I always answered no. The stigma that lung cancer is only caused by smoking is problematic because people don't realize there are other causes such as radon.”
Along with Janet’s story, the My Radon Story campaign features ambassadors from all walks of life, who share a strong passion for educating and encouraging Canadians to test their homes for radon. The Lung Association encourages all Saskatchewan residents test for radon by purchasing a Health Canada approved radon kit at www.MyRadonStory.ca
For Media Opportunities:
Deborah Kies, Director of Marketing & Development