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November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month

Lung cancer kills more than 400 people every day, according to the American Lung Association. (designer491/iStockPhoto)
Lung cancer kills more than 400 people every day, according to the American Lung Association. (designer491/iStockPhoto)
November 7, 2016

WESTON, Wis. – November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, and for one young mother and widow in the Wausau area, it's a time to encourage others to tell their stories, so more people become aware of how deadly lung cancer can be.

The American Lung Association says lung cancer kills more than 400 people every day.

In Jennifer Kislow's case, her husband – a non-smoker – was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. He died four months later, leaving his wife and two young daughters. That was five years ago.

Kislow feels many people are still unaware of how serious lung cancer is, and how it can hit those who have never smoked.

"I don't think very many people know about it, but it is, you know, one of the least-funded cancers out there, and it is the number one cancer killer, really, of women,” she says. “That's really scary to me, and I have two young daughters, as well."

There's a new lung cancer diagnosis every 2.5 minutes, and the American Lung Association says 77 percent of women are not diagnosed until the later stages, when it's too late for many treatment options.

Kislow stresses the key is early detection, and she urges everyone to talk to his or her doctor about possible risks.

Kislow echoes the Lung Association’s recommendation that during Lung Cancer Awareness Month people should visit the website lungforce.org to learn more about the disease, and what they can do to get involved in the fight.

"The more we get people talking about it – the more I talk about it, share my story, and let people know that there are these organizations out there and we're all trying to do our best – I really do think every little thing we can do can make a difference and improve this situation," she says.

The statistics are grim. Half of all women diagnosed with lung cancer will lose their lives within a year. Although it is extremely deadly, three out of five women incorrectly believe that lung cancer has a survival rate similar to other forms of cancer.

That's why Kislow says it's critical that people speak up.

"Share your story,” she urges. “If you, or a family member or a friend, has ever been affected by it, let people know that we are out there. And it just brings more support, finding that there are other people that experienced similar situations."

Tim Morrissey, Public News Service - WI