November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, an event that got its start twenty years ago with the introduction of a single day set aside to call attention to the ravages of the disease. As the movement grew, so did the number of associated activities, until the awareness campaigned evolved into a month-long campaign of educational programming, fundraising and community events.
What is Lung Cancer
Cancer is an umbrella term used to describe a number of different illnesses in which healthy cells mutate. In some cases the cells grow and divide into tumors within the body’s organs, eventually spreading to other parts of the body. Some cancers impact tissues and interfere with nearby organs’ ability to function properly. In some cases the cancer cells infiltrate the blood stream itself. There are a number of different types of lung cancer, largely broken into the two major categories of either non-small cell lung cancer or small cell lung cancer, but in all cases the cells that make up the body of the lungs begin to grow in an abnormal way.
The Benefits of Participating in Lung Cancer Awareness Month Activities
If you or someone that you care about has been diagnosed with lung cancer, there are a lot of benefits to participating in Lung Cancer Awareness Month activities. Doing so creates a connection with other patients, caregivers and survivors of this challenging condition, and provides a sense of community and productivity. One of the biggest stressors that face those who have to deal with lung cancer on a day-to-day basis is their sense of isolation; another is the frustration of being surrounded by people who have so little background information on the disease, its many causes, or its prognosis. By getting involved in an event that can do so much good and educate so many people, participants gain a sense of accomplishment, belonging, and greater understanding.
Lung Cancer Awareness Month Events
There are a wide variety of national and local events that patients and caregivers alike can get involved in. Here are five of our favorites.
5 Ways To Support Lung Cancer Awareness Month
- Shine a Light on Lung Cancer – There are over 300 “shine a light” events being held in 2015. These free events, which offer hope and inspiration to the lung cancer community, take place all around the world and bring the newly diagnosed, survivors, their caregivers and others together. The events provide education on new advances in treatment and allows the community to join together. The event ends with the lighting of flashlights in a ceremony that is both moving and inspiring.
- Faces of Lung Cancer – This social media project invites those who have been touched by lung cancer to submit their photos for display on the Lung Cancer Alliance website. The goal of the campaign is to remove the stigma of lung cancer and make people aware that lung cancer can touch anybody, at any time, for any reason.
- Wear a White Ribbon – The ribbon campaigns that have taken the world by storm are more powerful than people realize. By simply tacking on one of these tiny pins, you open the opportunity for discussion and education with those who may be unaware of the risks of lung cancer in the general population or the devastation that the disease can cause. Ribbons are available at the Lung Cancer Initiative office, or they are easy to make for yourself.
- Volunteer to host an event, or attend one in your local community – The Lung Cancer Alliance and other organizations offer tremendous support to those who volunteer to host educational or fundraising events in their homes or communities, including the annual Shine a Light events, runs and walks, and other athletic training projects.
- Get the word out about lung cancer – There are so many ways for volunteers to contribute to raising awareness about lung cancer. From posting messages on social media to contacting local news organizations and encouraging them to run stories on lung cancer awareness activities during the month or throughout the year, you can spread the message and help those who are currently suffering from the disease or who are working to support those who are.