Lung cancer’s toll on women

Every five minutes, a woman in the United States is diagnosed with lung cancer, including 2,600 each year from Georgia. Half of these women will not be alive a year later, and two-thirds of women diagnosed never smoked or are former smokers. The American Lung Association is racing against the clock to save women’s lives, and to raise awareness that lung cancer is the No. 1 cancer killer of women, and that every woman is at risk for the disease.

The Lung Association in Georgia is part of the nationwide “Lung Force” initiative that is making lung cancer in women a public health priority, driving policy change and increasing research funding.

Taking on a women’s health crisis as complex as lung disease and cancer requires a comprehensive approach. That’s why Lung Force is partnering with lung cancer experts and investigators to increase our understanding of lung cancer, and supporting research to help discover new methods of early detection and treatment.

On national and local levels, Lung Force influences and mobilizes support for stronger policies addressing the key known causes for lung cancer — tobacco use, secondhand smoke, air pollution and radon exposure — as well as increased funding to expand lung cancer research. This advocacy work is essential to accelerating efforts to put lung cancer at the forefront of public health agendas.

Ending the devastating impact of lung cancer also means expanding access to best-in-class education, programs and services that individuals need to understand how to mitigate risk and help families and individuals support and empower those living with a lung cancer diagnosis. Locally, the Lung Association offers such programs as Quitter in You smoking cessation, Better Breathers Clubs, Lung HelpLine and Freedom From Smoking.

Lung Force is rallying our civic and corporate community to act boldly to bring hope to the fight against lung cancer. We have proudly partnered with CVS Caremark, which recently decided to end tobacco sales in its 7,600 CVS/pharmacy locations, noting that the sale of tobacco products does not align with the company’s purpose of helping people on their path to better health, and that such products have no place in a setting where health care is delivered.

We encourage other companies and community organizations to take a similar strong stand against lung cancer and for lung health.

Through June 29, you can join our movement by visiting any CVS/pharmacy location in Atlanta or to learn more about lung cancer and Lung Force and support our in-store fundraising campaign. All proceeds will support Lung Force and raise critical funds for research, advocacy, health education and awareness around lung cancer in women.

Join Lung Force (at and become a part of an unstoppable force that will, one day soon, be able to say we stood up against lung cancer and for lung health.

June Deen is Georgia state director of the American Lung Association.