People diagnosed with lung cancer face medical, emotional, financial and practical challenges. They may also face a unique stigma, as lung cancer is often associated with smoking.
A lung cancer diagnosis may lead some to ask, “Did you smoke?” It is natural to find such personal questions offensive and react in anger. Consider responding by talking about how lung cancer has many causes besides smoking, including environmental factors. Many people with lung cancer have never smoked, and can be unexpectedly diagnosed. Turning an inconsiderate question into a teachable moment can be a very powerful means of confronting lung cancer stigma.
CancerCare’s professional oncology social workers can help you find ways to talk about lung cancer through individual counseling, and can put you in touch with others in a similar situation through a free support group.
Leading lung cancer experts will answer questions during CancerCare’s May 17 Connect Education Workshop, “Advances in the Treatment of Lung Cancer.” Participation is free, but registration is required.
View all of CancerCare’s lung cancer resources.