Imagine being blamed for having cancer. Today, this is a reality for thousands of people with lung cancer.  It is the #1 cancer in both men and women, and kills more women each year than breast cancer, uterine cancer, and ovarian cancer combined. It is an epidemic, with the rates of women diagnosed with lung cancer doubling in the last 30 years. Unfortunately, the negative stigma of the disease is still resulting in lost lives. Knowing the symptoms and getting screened is crucial to survival rates.

Often regarded as a self-inflicted cancer that affects older smokers and mostly men, lung cancer is simply not a marketable disease. This stigma has resulted in minimal development in awareness, research, or progress in the disease. Lung cancer survival has remained as low as it was in the 1970s. To illustrate the gap, research funding per lung cancer death is approximately $1,415, while research funding per breast cancer death is $13,452.

Though intentions were positive, the anti-smoking campaign efforts branded lung cancer as a smokers cancer. It has been widely accepted as a “will not happen to me” disease by non-smokers. There are countless addictions with health consequences, but the issues still deserve a voice. The Pearl Project is dedicated to educating the public, empowering women and men, and changing the face of lung cancer.

Did you know?

  • Lung cancer is still the least funded cancer, with funding so low survival rates have not improved since the 1970s
  • 5-year survival rate for lung cancer is 15.5% – breast cancer has advanced to 89%
  • It’s estimated that 25,000 non-smoking U.S. women are diagnosed with lung cancer each year
  • Non-smoking women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with lung cancer as non-smoking men

Lung Cancer Symptoms

  • An unexplained, persistent cough that may be dismissed as something else
  • Gradual onset of shortness of breath or wheezing
  • Coughing up blood
  • Repeated lung infections such as bronchitis or pneumonia
  • Chest pain that worsens with a deep breath

Important Facts

  • Radon exposure is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Radon home testing kits are readily available for about $15
  • Former smokers over 50 are considered “at risk” and should get regular CT scans to screen for lung cancer
  • Lung cancer can be misdiagnosed as pneumonia, bronchitis, or asthma
  • The number of younger, non-smoking women being diagnosed with lung cancer is increasing
  • Early diagnosis is crucial. 5-year survival rate for stage 1 lung cancer is 50%, for stage 4 it is 2%



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