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November 13, 2014

Shining a Light on Lung Cancer

by: Anne McGinness Kearse

Throughout my career, I’ve had the opportunity to work with some truly incredible people, but unfortunately it is often under very difficult and painful circumstances. Even though some are either dealing with aggressive lung cancer or coping with the loss of a loved one from this horrible disease, one thing all of them seem to have in common is a need and capacity for hope.

It is for these brave individuals, who deserve every fighting chance we can give them, that our firm is  supporting the Lung Cancer Alliance’s Shine a Light on Lung Cancer program this November during National Lung Cancer Awareness Month, and more specifically, contributing to a patient celebration to be held at the MUSC Hollings Cancer Center in Charleston, South Carolina on November 18. All in the community are welcome to attend this free event. 

Whether it’s discussing the latest in lung cancer research, holding an electronic or real candle high in the air with a room full of supporters or sharing a story of survival, “Shine a Light on Lung Cancer” events can take a number of forms and each year, the Lung Cancer Alliance and its national affiliates bring the light of hope to cancer survivors and advocates.

MUSC has been hosting its Shine a Light event for many years to honor its patients, and we are proud to be able to assist with this year’s event and to attend.

Why is lung cancer so prevalent?

While many people may be aware that lung cancer is the leading cancer killer in the United States, they may not know that it takes more lives than colon, breast and pancreatic cancer combined. This year alone, the American Lung Association estimates that more than 220,000 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed and sadly, more than half of those patients will pass within a year of diagnosis.

While advances in lung cancer research are being made every day, they can’t come soon enough.

One of the reasons for lung cancer’s prevalence today is the long latency period of the disease. People who worked around asbestos or began smoking decades ago might only recently have been diagnosed. Mesothelioma, an asbestos-related cancer that originates in the lining of the lungs, may take fifty years or more to manifest.

It’s for these reasons—for victims and survivors and their families—that organizations such as the Lung Cancer Alliance and the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organizationcontinue to advocate for research and urge survivors to share their stories not only to provide others with the light of hope, but to turn more bright minds to the imperative task of finding a cure.

As our firm continues to seek justice for the many individuals suffering from lung cancer as a result of workplace exposure to harmful carcinogens, we will continue to advocate strongly for more lung cancer research and hopefully, one day, a cure.