In related stories, having a colon seems to be a leading factor in colon cancer and the ownership of breasts could lead to breast cancer.
What has put me in such a sarcastic mood today? Thank you for asking. I was sitting with my brother-in-law this morning and he was telling me about the TV minister he saw earlier that, if you call him and gave him some money, he’d say a prayer for you.
Caller number one is on the line suffering from respiratory issues and Mr. TV minister guy asks, “Did you smoke?” “Yes,” replies our caller. What comes next is the standard statement, “Oh so you did this to yourself, followed by basically, “well I guess I’ll still pray for you.”
Let’s get a couple of things straight.
Over the past few years I have found myself knee deep in many negotiations with God as far as trying to get myself out of this lung cancer jam. Let’s just say that we have a pretty good working relationship and although we don’t see eye to eye all the time we still manage to settle our issues like gentlemen. I have to tell you, from what I know of him, he’s not very thrilled with the whole TV preacher saving your soul for cash routine and I think you Mr. TV guy will find your own special place when it’s all said and done.
Do prayers and positive thoughts and well wishes make a difference. Yes by all means. I am a firm believer in the power of these things and I know the part they played as I went through treatment and continue to recover. I tend not to talk religion with anyone other then my wife because I think that it’s one area of our lives that we should not be concerned by what anyone else thinks only what we as individuals choose to believe and in what fashion. That being said, nowhere in my negotiations with the ‘Big Guy’ did I hear discussions of prayers for cash percentages being paid. I would imagine it would go something like this.
T.V. preacher/healer/self proclaimed right hand of God would say, “Hey Buddy” psst “come here” “I’ve got a deal for you that’s gonna make us filthy rich.” “Really” God says, with a little knowing grin on his face. “Please, continue”, God beckons. ” OK, ” here’s the deal,” TV. Preacher/healer/self proclaimed right hand of God, says confidently. ” I’ll get them to call me by promising them that for a relatively low price you’ll listen to them, then we’ll whack up the proceeds lets say 60/40 since I’m doing most of the work.” God then asks the big question, “How much will we be charging to have a prayer heard?” ” That’s the beauty,” TV preacher/healer/self proclaimed right hand of God says, “I’ll convince them that You think they need to pay whatever they feel their eternal soul is worth.” “That should scare the Hell out of them, “We’ll make a fortune.”
I hope that whatever you choose to believe in comes with more promise then getting into Heaven on the easy payment plan. If you have no real religious belief then let me stress to you the importance of what a strong belief in yourself can do for you.
Anyway, all that aside, here is the true thought of the day. If we are ever going to move forward in curing lung cancer, we are going to have to take away the ‘You Smoked’ anchor that has kept lung cancer research firmly secured to the bottom of the ocean for all these years. We know it’s down there but it’s out of sight and besides “I don’t smoke” so therefore I’m not even standing on the deck so it’s not my problem.
If you smoked you did it to yourself is a tidy little bundle to tie it up in except for the fact that it doesn’t take a few major things into consideration. As much as I hate to do this, were going there.
So if your one of those “You did it to yourself” people and you offer this wisdom and vast knowledge to someone who then tells you that they never smoked a day in their lives, will you then ask “how” the ended up with lung cancer or just slink away into the shadows of ignorance from which you came?
Let’s take a look at some of the other possibilities shall we.
First, We all know that tobacco is the leading cause of lung cancer and because it’s always the main focus we are going to acknowledge it and move onto the next.
The decaying of naturally occurring Uranium in our soil and water produces radon gas. Radon exposure in the home leading to lung cancer fatalities is greater per year then deaths by fires, drowning and airplane crashes combined. Radon gas is the number two cause of lung cancer and can no longer be ignored by the public.
The fibrous material mined in the United States since the 1800s and used in everything from the ceiling and floor tiles in our homes to the construction of ships and buildings. In the 1970s the health effects of asbestos came to the forefront and from then on asbestos usage has been on a steady decline. There is not a single person who won’t be exposed to asbestos in one form or another during the course of their lives and for those who have worked with it for years do to their professions or been exposed to it for large periods of time, the risk of diseases such as lung cancer are very much present.
My Aunt wrote to me and spoke of her many friends who walked out of high school into great manufacturing jobs but ended up working with asbestos and in the long run paid dearly for those great jobs.
She spoke of her time working in a government building with an asbestos ceiling and how it was not unusual to come into work and find clumps of asbestos on the top of her desk. How many cases of lung cancer have evolved by simply going to work?
In Defense of Our Country.
Would you be so willing to tell a gulf war veteran that they did it to them self by being exposed to Depleted Uranium (DU) while serving in desert storm or desert shield in the early 90’s? If you can get past the Defense depts. “Don’t look, don’t find” policy you find 250,000 of the 697,000 American soldiers who served suffer from Gulf War Veterans Illness. Damage to the Kidney as well as lung cancer is related to (DU) exposure.
What are the fatalities from lung cancer due to the exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam?
Let’s get away from things designed to kill and look at the things you are exposed to every day.
What do you think the constant exposure to the various chemicals we use everyday has done to increase the growing rate of lung cancer cases? How do you feel about the toxins in our air from the dozens of pollutants we are forced to inhale every day of our lives? Here’s the deal, only about one to five percent of lung cancer cases are being linked to pollution.
The role that genetics plays in lung cancer as well as the development of all major diseases is the continued source of research and can not be ruled out in any discussion of what makes one person more susceptible then another.
What if in the future scientists were able to track the exact moment in time and the single factor that caused the illness that threatened your life?
Would it really make a difference if you could say, “that’s what did it”? Or would it be more important that year earlier you supported efforts to find a cure so if, God forbid, you or someone you love ever found yourselves facing this type of issue, the cause was no longer the subject of conversation.
Can you get past the thought process that only people who smoke get lung cancer?
Are you willing to accept that the only sure fire way to completely avoid lung cancer is to not have lungs?
Will you admit that there might be a reason for you to take a minute and learn a few things regarding lung cancer?
How about this, would you be willing to take a moment and learn about the effects of proper exercise and diet and how the importance of supporting your immune system can help to limit your exposure to life altering illnesses?
The bottom line is this, for whatever reason, currently between 170,000 and 200,000 Americans a year will be diagnosed with lung cancer. Within five years a large number of those 170,000 to 200,000 friends, neighbors, coworkers and loved ones will no longer be with us. Within the first 360 days of their passing, lung cancer will replace each of them with a new victim. Someone’s Mother or Father, Someone’s son or daughter will be the next in line. It might be the stranger sitting next to you on the bus or the best friend you’ve known all your life. Year after year it goes on and it will continue until we stop pointing our fingers at the irrelevant issues and seriously focus on changing the inevitability that most face with a diagnoses of lung cancer.
It does not matter to me what you choose to believe in as far as religion is concerned, that’s between you and your mirror. What I can no longer tolerate, are people who dismiss the life and death struggle that is lung cancer by blaming the victim. Not only is the statement “you did it to yourself,” ignorant, it’s insulting and in today’s world the cause is becoming far less clear and far more irrelevant.
November is lung cancer awareness month, do yourself a favor and take one hour out of the (by the time you read this) 240 hours remaining in the month and educate yourself on the subject, then due me a favor and spend an hour educating the ones you love on your findings.
Tim Giardina is the co-founder and President of the GFLCCO as well as a current small cell lung cancer survivor. The GFLCCO is developing a World Wide network of supporters with facts and information regarding lung cancer, lung cancer treatment, proper diets and exercise and alternative medicines and treatments as well as valuable links to a deep pool of resources for patients and their families.