• I'm still getting accustomed to having lung cancer. For those that have it, do people always look at you like you have the plague?

    Asked by LungC on Tuesday, November 6, 2018

    I'm still getting accustomed to having lung cancer. For those that have it, do people always look at you like you have the plague?

    I've heard the "how much do you smoke" question with a disgusted tone more than I care to. And it seems to me that some people with other types of cancers can talk to others about it and it's all, Ohh, I'm so sorry are you OK, and how can I help. But it seems like lung cancer gets, the smoking question or where did you work, what have you been breathing?

    11 Answers from the Community

    11 answers
    • GregP_WN's Avatar
      GregP_WN

      Sadly, that is a common thing.

      13 days ago
    • Boogerman's Avatar
      Boogerman

      Yes, I've been through that also. Some people will just blurt out what comes to their mind without thinking. Most people don't know that it's offensive to us.

      13 days ago
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar
      LiveWithCancer

      The stigma is very real, that's for sure. I have heard of survivors who refuse treatment rather than admit that they have lung cancer or who lie about their diagnosis and tell people they have a more "accepted" kind of cancer ... which is nearly anything but lung cancer.

      My main problem with the stigma is that it means our cancer doesn't get the funding it needs and deserves because everyone, everyone, everyone thinks we brought it on ourselves because we smoke... (I know sooooooooooo many, mostly young women but a few young men, too, who never smoked, never lived around second-hand smoke, no radon, no explanation at all for their lung cancer ... and those people seem to be forgotten in everyone's haste to stick the stigma to us. Very frustrating.)

      12 days ago
    • ddeangelis' Avatar
      ddeangelis

      There is the stigma of lung cancer associated with smoking. When I was first diagnosed with lung cancer, while in the doctor's office a nurse came up to me and said, "well that's what you get from smoking!" For that split second moment, I was so mad that someone could be so heartless and just blurt that out. And did she know that I smoked or did not smoke? Of course not. As far as I'm concerned, cancer is cancer. It's debilitating and often deadly. This is what we live with every day. We lung cancer folks are poked, prodded, hooked up to machines, the never ending CT scans, blood tests, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation, surgery...the list goes on and on. And yet there are those who say we deserve all of this torture for smoking. God will judge us in the end and he will be kind because he knows that we never expected this disease and yet he made us strong to endure cancer's wrath. So all I say to those with lung cancer, God is on your side. Don't forget that.

      12 days ago
    • Carool's Avatar
      Carool

      ddeangelis, that nurse should've been fired or at least censured. What she said/did is so wrong, on many levels.

      Never blame someone who develops a cancer. Before diagnosis, urge the people - smoker; sun-worshipper; anyone who doesn't have mammos or Pap tests; anyone who ignores symptoms; someone who never sees a doctor or dentist; etc. - to be more health-protective. After diagnosis, be supportive or stay out of the way. And I we'll know that one can not smoke, go to doctors, wear sunscreen - and STILL get cancers implicated by those substances.

      12 days ago
    • wmsavs' Avatar
      wmsavs

      I agree with everyone about the lung cancer stigma. I would also like to interject another general statement about cancer, regardless of the form. Cancer is more about bad luck than bad choices. Most on this website seem to tolerate the ignorance spewed by the heartless people in this world.

      12 days ago
    • DIlly39's Avatar
      DIlly39

      Their are many friends & family that just don't understand what your going through since they've never experienced the same thing. It's ashame how some people just don't want to be there for you & be encouraging. I never complain about having cancer only to God asking why me. Have a friend that feels I'm all into myself since I can't participate in things I use to. I've always been caring & sympathize with people's conditions. Just a call asking how you are means so much that someone cares & thinks of you.

      11 days ago
    • DIlly39's Avatar
      DIlly39

      Their are many friends & family that just don't understand what your going through since they've never experienced the same thing. It's ashame how some people just don't want to be there for you & be encouraging. I never complain about having cancer only to God asking why me. Have a friend that feels I'm all into myself since I can't participate in things I use to. I've always been caring & sympathize with people's conditions. Just a call asking how you are means so much that someone cares & thinks of you.

      11 days ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar
      BoiseB

      The kind of cancer I have is associated with drinking alchohol. I have had people ask me where did I go for the cure, and when I told them about the innovative surgery, they said no how did you get over your alchoholism.

      11 days ago
    • banditwalker's Avatar
      banditwalker

      I think any cancer/disease is sometimes met with, it must have been something you did wrong.

      11 days ago
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar
      LiveWithCancer

      I was at the crematorium with my daughter-in-law the other day. I was late for the appointment because, try as they did, the cancer clinic couldn't get me finished with my treatment fast enough.

      I mentioned being at the doctor and how had they had tried to expedite everything. The funeral director asked what was wrong with me.

      I told him I had lung cancer. "Oh," he said. "A smoker."

      I told him that I don't smoke (now) and that it was wrong to jump to those conclusions and even worse to voice them. He changed his tune and began talking about how many clients (??? What is a person who is cremated called?) were young and nonsmokers when they passed from lung cancer.

      So, if he knows that, why would he voice an assumption about my cancer. What would have been wrong with a simple, "I am sorry."

      The stigma is horrible. And not getting any better and is killing people because (1) doctors buy into the stigma and misdiagnose, (2) there is not enough funding for better research, (3) there isn't the needed awareness among the general population so they feel safe from the number one cancer killer because they didn't smoke.

      8 days ago

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