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Monroe County cancer statistics 2004-2008


Lung cancer kills more people than breast, colon and prostate cancers combined. But it gets a very small slice of the research money pie. A story by FairWarning published in the Albany Times Union explains:

Yet while lung cancer remains largely a death sentence — just 15.9 percent of those diagnosed are alive five years later — the federal government funds far less research on the disease than on other common cancers. The discrepancy is starkest when death rates are taken into account. In 2011, the two federal agencies providing most of the research money funded breast cancer research at a rate of $21,641 per death while spending $1,489 per lung cancer death.


Part of the challenge is that the disease is so deadly there is no critical mass of survivors to raise its public profile. Most people are diagnosed at an advanced stage and die within six months, said Jeffrey Borgia, a cancer researcher at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. “There’s not much time to fit a walkathon in,” he said.


In fact, the original color for lung cancer ribbons was clear – as in invisible.

“Every single corporation wants to have a pink ribbon on their product, but there’s nobody who has raised their hand for lung cancer,” said Linda Wenger, executive director of the Uniting Against Lung Cancer research foundation.

The article quotes experts who speculate the stigma associated with smoking may be to blame for the disparity. Yet 15 percent of people who get lung cancer never smoked. And many who get lung cancer quit smoking long ago.

In Monroe County, lung cancer accounts 13 percent of cancer diagnoses, but 28 percent of all deaths. That makes it the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the Rochester region.

Upstate New York has a higher rate of lung cancer than New York City because more people smoke. Nineteen percent of Monroe County residents smoke.

We don’t often talk about lung cancer. Maybe that should change.

Links of the Day:

– Grading schools – and teachersdoes nothing for education and may do real harm.

– Two New York high school football teams are playing each other for the state title. They have a history of supporting each off the field.

– The massive salaries of college football coaches are often subsidized by taxpayers.

– Billboards are ugly, right? Why not make them hanging gardens?

2 Responses to Lung Cancer Shorted

  1. I think that the feeling among most people is that lung cancer was preventable if you did not smoke, whereas most other cancers are not preventable.

  2. I know how deadly lung cancer is and thought it was just inevitable. I didn’t realize that it gets so little research money. I suspect that most physicians and researchers thought bringing down smoking rates were the answer period. I do remember thinking more about it after Christopher Reeve’s widow died of it not long after he died and she had never smoked. I think big corporations don’t want to be associated with lung cancer which is seen as a disease from smoking and environmental hazards. It should get more research money.

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