The Challenge: Garnering Empathy For Women With Lung Disease

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Garnering Empathy for Women with Lung DiseaseFor more than 10 years, GillespieHall has had the privilege of working alongside the American Lung Association (ALA) in its fight to improve air quality and lung health for all Americans. Recently, the ALA has recognized a scary trend that needs attention: a staggering number of women are being diagnosed with lung disease.

To simply say that the number of women with lung disease is on the rise is a gross understatement. The stats will floor you. Over the past 33 years, the rate of newly diagnosed lung cancer cases has dropped for men (21% decrease) but has risen for women (116% increase). In the United States, more women now die from lung cancer than from breast and colon cancers combined. Women are now 37% more likely to have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) than men.

November is Lung Cancer Awareness month, and we are working with our client, the ALA, and its loyal stakeholders and volunteers to draw attention to the fact that more women are now dying from lung cancer than breast and colon cancer combined. We’d like to garner advocacy and support for these women, but we find this is not always an easy task.

Fortunately, GH knows how to do it! We can address the cause by finding the right perspective. For lung cancer awareness, GH presented truths about women and lung disease that are usually hidden and are unpopular: that tobacco is the most addictive substance known to humankind, and that the tobacco industry works hard to sell its products to women and children.

The most powerful and effective tool is open communication. In a recent letter to the editor, Deb Brown, President and CEO of the American Lung Association of the Mid-Atlantic, said: “Smoking is in part a choice. But we must recognize that those making the decision to smoke are often children, targeted very specifically and intentionally by the tobacco industry.”

By creating compassion for the cause and drawing focus to the most human aspects of the problem, we can raise awareness and support for women with lung cancer. This is how we observe Lung Cancer Awareness Month.

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