Fresh Living

We are proud to offer an extensive array of supportive features in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  But as one of our authors, Lori Hope, points out in this powerful guest post, it can be difficult to be a non-breast-cancer survivor in October because you can easily feel like your disease is carried out to sea on a tide of pink ribbons.  –Holly


challenging to be a Breath Cancer survivor during Breast Cancer Awareness
Month. Whats Breath
Cancer? Its the
cancer that attacks the organ behind the breast, the organ we cannot live

Its proper name is Lung Cancer. But I prefer to call it
Breath Cancer, because it literally and permanently takes the breath from a
jumbo jet-full of people every day.

I bet youre
wondering if I smoked. Did you know that up to 20% of people with Breath Cancer
never smoked, 60% dont
currently smoke, and most of us wince at the question?

People dont
ask Breast Cancer survivors whether theyre
overweight or drank wine (raises the risk), exercised (lowers risk), or got
regular mammograms. Is this partly because Breast Cancer is sexualized? As the
new Save the
Boobs PSA
breasts are beautiful. And the thought of losing them? Terrifying. No blame, no
shame to Breast Cancer.

Not so with Breath Cancer. Although its usually caused by
smoking which like
overeating, is a lifestyle choice
most fighting the disease dont
smoke. But that shouldnt
matter anyway. Cancer is cancer. I lost one friend to Breast, another to Colon,
another to Breath Cancer. Did one deserve to live more than another?

challenging to be a Breath Cancer survivor during October because everyone cares so vocally about Breast Cancer. And although Breath Cancer kills twice as many
women, during Lung Cancer Awareness Month (November), you wont see invisible ribbons (the non-color of
Breath Cancer) used to hawk everything from tissues to tampons.

Stigma has kept Breath Cancer deplorably underfunded. And
thats why only 15%
of us live longer than five years. Thats
unfair. So please. Care.

And by the way, yes, I smoked, but quit almost 20 years before my
diagnosis. Regardless, dont
I deserve to live?

Lori Hope is the author of the top-rated cancer support book, Help
Me Live: 20 things people with cancer want you to know
, and speaks and blogs about
how to help people facing cancer and other life challenges. For more
information, see, or read her
interview with Time,
“How to talk to a friend with breast cancer”

Read Lori’s powerful cancer features on Beliefnet:

How to Keep Hope Alive Through Cancer

Wise Words from Cancer Survivors

(image via

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