On Saturday I was incredibly sad to read the news that the incredibly talented Caroline Aherne had passed away.
The Royle Family was a firm favourite in our house when I was younger and many fond memories of laughing (and crying when Nana died) with my parents and sister all together watching the show together.
I found myself genuinely upset that she had passed away, and so young especially knowing it was cancer of all things. Social media tributes start popping up everywhere with people sharing their comments and sadness at the loss of such a wonderful lady. It didn’t take long for the inevitable to happen.
She shouldn’t have smoked
Lung cancer? Oh then she deserved it.
It really is that cut and dry with some people. Instantly jumping to a conclusion and no sympathy because, well she asked for it.
Who asks to die from cancer?
If you have lungs, you can have lung cancer.
It still angers me that lung cancer is by far the most common cause of cancer death in the UK. More than one in five (22%) cancer deaths in males and females combined are from lung cancer. (http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/mortality/common-cancers-compared#RHYVpL8yObwDyBdJ.99 ) But did you know that? Probably not. You see there is such a stigma about lung cancer. It’s a “dirty” disease and goes hand in hand with smoking. I guarantee that if a person has lung cancer one of the first responses from people will be “do you smoke?” No words of comfort, straight there asking if they brought it on themselves.
There’s no fancy charity campaigns for lung cancer. How on earth can you make it marketable; it’s linked to coughing, nicotine, black lungs… No pretty pink colours or fancy tshirts because who wants to be associated with that?
It’s worrying that despite being the most common and most deadly, there’s little known awareness or funding. Taken from the Cancer Research site in simple terms:
Breast cancer receives just over £3,500 of research funding per death from the disease. Leukaemia receives over £7000 of research funding per mortality.
Lung cancer receives just over £400 per death.
So the biggest killer which has such a small survival time from diagnosis to death receives such a small figure in comparison? How frightening that such prejudice is still out there and so many people are dying yet nothing seems to be done.
Caroline Aherne was born with cancer of the eye. She also had bladder cancer and lung cancer due to a genetic condition but let’s just focus on if she smoked or not so that those on their high horses can look down their noses. This blame mentality is causing so many to die unnecessarily. Isn’t it about time we looked at the facts and realise that the one that statistically is the most fatal and killing the most, really should sit at the top of the funding and research pile?
How in 2016 do we still instantaneously associate any liver or kidney issues to alcohol abuse, and lung /respiratory problems to smoking?
I truly hope that one day this dated and unjust stigma can be ended, and more can be done so that lung cancer no longer equals led a death sentence. To watch anyone die from cancer is agonising. No one would ever choose to die this way. Cancer can rob you of everything and leave you as a shell of a person. It’s agonising for those left behind so people should think before casting damning aspersions. Before you ask, yes my Mom died of lung cancer aged 59. And no she didn’t smoke. Just remember; cancer is evil, not the person.