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Sharing Our Lung Cancer Stories, Instilling New Hope

LUNG FORCE representatives rining the opening bell for National Women's Lung Health Week

Actor Shantel VanSanten remembers the moment when she decided that lung cancer would not define her or her family. Her grandmother Doris had passed away after being diagnosed with the disease, inspiring Shantel to become an advocate and fight in her memory.

"In the midst of loss, I found an opportunity to honor her life," Shantel said. "Now I tell her story to educate others about lung cancer and its causes. I fight alongside those who are fighting and will not cease until we find a cure."

During the second week in May each year, the American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE initiative encourages Americans from coast to coast to join our celebration of National Women's Lung Health Week and Turquoise Takeover (May 6-12, 2018), to raise awareness of the nation’s leading cancer killer—lung cancer.

Although lung cancer cases in women have nearly doubled in the last 40 years, LUNG FORCE's annual Lung Health Barometer found that only three percent of women cite lung cancer as a top-of-mind health concern.

Without this disease on their radar, not enough women are speaking to their doctor about their risks and screening options. Screening is critical to catching lung cancer early, when the disease is most curable. This may be part of the reason that currently only 18 percent of lung cancer cases in women are diagnosed early. As a result, the average five-year survival rate for lung cancer is among the lowest of all cancers, with lung cancer accounting for only four percent of all American cancer survivors.

With the help of our LUNG FORCE Heroes - women and men personally affected by lung cancer like Shantel - we are working to bring this disease into the spotlight and unite women and their loved ones across the country to stand together as one FORCE. Their support enables us to raise our voices to advocate for innovation in lung cancer research that will lead to better methods of early detection and new treatment options.

Since 2016, new investments in research have led to 14 new therapies approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat lung cancer, providing new hope for those affected by the disease and their families.

And by sharing the stories of LUNG FORCE Heroes with members of Congress, we have helped secure a 59 percent increase in lung cancer research funding at the National Institutes of Health since the inception of our movement in 2014.

During Turquoise Takeover, you can stand in unity with all those impacted by lung cancer by:

  • Turning your Facebook profile turquoise using our Facebook Frame from May 6-12
  • Wearing your favorite turquoise outfit and posting a selfie on your social media profiles
  • Signing up for a LUNG FORCE Walk near you and donating online

For the fifth year in a row, you can also visit any of the 7,900 CVS Pharmacy® locations May 6 - 26 to support LUNG FORCE by donating $1, $3 or more at the register. CVS Pharmacy® will also donate $1 to LUNG FORCE for every pack of EXTRA® Gum purchased in stores at CVS Pharmacy locations and (up to $100,000) –during the campaign.

LUNG FORCE is a proud partner of CVS Health’s Be The First campaign, a 5-year, $50 million initiative funded through CVS Health and the CVS Health Foundation to help deliver the nation's first tobacco-free generation.

You can also visit to access discounts on quit smoking resources and learn about easy ways you can help local communities become tobacco-free, which is key to making a difference against lung cancer. Through your ongoing support and contributions, we are working to move us closer to making sure fewer people are diagnosed with lung cancer and those who are diagnosed live longer.

Related Topic: LUNG FORCE

  • Deborah P. Brown
    Chief Mission Officer
    Deborah P. Brown is Chief Mission Officer of the American Lung Association.

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Submitted by PK at: December 13, 2019
People. Never thought it would happen to me. I think everyone thanks like that. Wrong. It will catch up to you eventually. I smoke cigarettes and weed for 40 years. I quit six months ago. I was feeling great and haven’t had on since I quit. I Had a little shortness of breath but I thought that was normal for all the years of smoking. Had a physical a few months back. My doctor spotted a spot on my lung. Had ct scan then a pet scan and because of the location they can’t do a biopsy. So the only thing they can do is start cutting out the mass and then test to see if cancer while I’m lying on the table. Then they will start removing lobes. And if cancer removing the whole lung. If the do get it all and if they got it early enough I might live a long life. It’s all about if they caught it in time. I pray to God they did. So now I will have major surgery and part of my whole right lung removed just because I love to smoke. I was warned and new the risks but like a lot of people we just don’t listen because we are stubborn or think ahhh that won’t happen to me. Well I was wrong. I’m only 56 years young and I’m fighting for my life. I just pray to my God they caught it in time. If so. I have a great Doctor that cared enough for me to do a great health physical and got me started testing right away. God bless the Doctors that care for us and are on our side. Thank You Dr. Evans and Dr. Acuff. I love y’all!!! 💕💕💕💕👍👍👍✌️ PK
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