PEOPLE with lung cancer will gather in Yokine next week to highlight the disease and show it does not just affect smokers.
The Shine a Light on Lung Cancer awareness and fundraising event on November 2 will be an afternoon tea for people living with the disease, their families, friends and supporters.
Three patient advocates organising the event have the disease, but have never smoked.
Ocean Reef grandfather John Porter (70) said he was healthy and fit, and had even been climbing hills in tea plantations overseas six weeks before he was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer.
Mr Porter said there was lots of stigma for the disease, which had a low survival rate.
“You don’t have to smoke to get lung cancer; smoking is just one way to get lung cancer,” he said.
“When you are diagnosed with lung cancer, it’s pretty confronting.
“I was told I had one to eight months to live unless I had treatment.
“That was 20 months ago so I’m living on borrowed time.”
Bayswater resident Tamara Lindsey (40) has been living with stage four lung cancer for six-and-a-half years, and had normal lung function when she was diagnosed.
South Perth resident Sandy Sampson (65) said an adverse reaction to the flu vaccine saved her life because it led to her cancer being detected.
Mrs Sampson lost her lung to neoendocrine lung cancer eight years ago, but the disease has spread to her liver.
“There’s no cure,” she said.
“Without research there won’t be a cure.”
Mrs Sampson encouraged people to attend the event to hear from speakers, “show people you care” and enjoy afternoon tea.
“We are all here together to raise awareness and support one another,” she said.
“Anyone with lungs can get lung cancer, whether they are smokers or not.”
Ms Lindsey said for one in three women and one in seven men with lung cancer, it had nothing to do with smoking.
“Under the age of 45, pretty much noone with lung cancer is associated with smoking,” she said.
Ms Lindsey said the survival rate could be increased by 20 per cent with research.
Mr Porter said there should be more lung cancer nurses, with just one in WA, and they wanted screening for the disease.
The retiree said people with lung cancer needed compassion and understanding and people with all types of cancer should be treated the same.
“We need people to look at us in a good light,” he said.
“The lung cancer survival rate is 17 per cent; it’s the biggest killer of cancers in Australia.”
An advocate of voluntary assisted dying, Mr Porter said he got involved in this year’s Shine a Light to support other people with lung cancer.
“I decided to help other people because I know how hard it was to go through myself,” he said.
Shine a light on lung cancer will be held on November 2 from 2-5pm at the Stirling Community Centre Yokine, 287 McDonald Street with donations of $25 per person requested to fund research and support for patients through the Lung Foundation Australia.
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