Young lady’s struggle with lung cancer
Couple of days ago, I checked on a friend who is suffering from lung cancer and it was heartbreaking. Her biggest challenge is not the disease itself but the stigma because there is an assumption that lung cancer patients are smokers who’ve brought the condition on themselves and few sympathizes with her. Of cause chronic exposure to cigarette smoke can change lung cells over time, making them more vulnerable to disease and priming them to develop cancer but that not the case with the 29 years old.Few people know that not all lung cancer patients are smokers. In fact, there are some studies that show a third of lung cancer cases in women are not related to tobacco use at all. As she narrated how her auntie talks crap of her, blaming her as a lung cancer patient who was a smoker, which is clearly blaming the victim. She admitted that while at the Australian University she was dating a chain smoker, and that could have been the origin of her problems.She never smoked and her only exposure to cigarette smoke was during the visit to the boyfriend room. When smoking, the smoker builds up a substrate of epigenetic changes that increases chances for developing lung cancer. She says the reason her Auntie is very hell bent of sticking to her narrative is that she believes if you’re not a smoker, your risk of lung cancer is very low.There has been a tug of war involving family members on how her case should be handled when it comes to treatment that depends on the stage of the disease, location of the cancer, severity of symptoms as well as her general health and wishes. Another challenge is that lung cancer can come back after treatment. She told me that medical experts have told her the cancer can recur in the lungs or somewhere else in the body, and is often called metastatic cancer. In her own words, the fear she has is that even after treatment, secondary cancer, the type cancer that spreads to another part of the body could end up being he second fight should the current treatment be successful.
She is currently on targeted therapy which according to her is the treatment with medicines that are designed to specifically attack cancer cells without harming normal cells. In the past seven months, she has experienced the stigma associated with lung cancer from close relatives including her aunt, once overhearing a cousin saying to an uncle that she used to smoke heavily at the University. “Contador Harrison at times it’s really in my face, and the moment i mention lung cancer, family and friends pre-judge me and I find that really confronting,” she said.“It’s not that I’m trying to pass judgement to folks who smoked either, but it’s this assumption by even educated family members and friends that I must have smoked.” The stigma that flows on to her was heart wrenching and even your blogger could feel it as she spoke.Her efforts to try to ignore negative comments and focusing on staying as fine as possible haven’t yielded much as the constant talks makes it difficult.Not even the doctors telling her that she will never be cured worries her than stigma she is facing and was saying that if there was no stigma, she could be making most of her time with her family as her condition is unpredictable and could worsen at any time.Her frustration of living with lung cancer is understandable having in mind she faces unwarranted stigma even from those who should be supporting her. At least with your blogger, there is plenty of moral support. She said lung cancer has isolated her from friends including her former boyfriend who has never bothered to check on her. Things are not even easy as there is no single other person living with lung cancer in the family or in her area with a population of over 5,000 families. She has really made an attempt to get out there and find others, because her view is that getting others like will give her hope and reassurance. At the moment it is a horrible feel due to lack of support like that of your blogger.She hopes is that with time, her community will put an end to the stigma of lung cancer patients. As we concluded, she weeped for having made her day, I promised to be checking on her as often as possible because she need the sympathy and support.