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Study: Lung Cancer Patients Blame Themselves; Doctors Say Knock That Attitude
Written by Nicole Porter
Last updated on November 14, 2012 @ 7:21PM
Created on November 14, 2012 @ 5:55PM
"If you have lungs, you can get lung cancer. It's not just a smoker's disease," said cancer survivor Don Stranathan.
 
While that's the truth, about 85% of lung cancer patients are smokers or had been in the past.
 
"Half of lung cancer patients are former smokers. They've already quit. So, they've done the right thing," said Dr. Joan Schiller, Professor and Chief of Hematology and Oncology, University of Texas Southwestern.
 
A new study shows there's still a negative connotation that floats around these type of cancer patients.
 
"About 2/3 of all participants felt lung cancer patients should be ashamed of their disease," said Dr. Schiller.
 
She said that's the exact opposite of how patients should act.
 
"If somebody's ashamed of their disease and embarrassed to talk about it or guilty about it, they are not going to go out there and advocate well for themselves like they should," she explained.
 
One cancer survivor learned that lesson soon after he was diagnosed in 2009.
 
"I Googled, you know, Stage 4 Lung Cancer, it said eight months to a year survival rate. I'm 40 months into Stage 4 Lung Cancer, I'm still stable. I mountain bike, I hike and I think the key is just to not get the best treatment out there, believe you're getting the best treatment," said Stranathan.
 
"We're improving the treatments for lung cancer. A good percentage are treatable and curable. So try to focus on the positive aspects of getting through the treatments," said Dr. Paul Brager, Director of the Cecil B. Highland, Jr. & Barbara B. Highland Cancer Center at United Hospital Center.
 
Stranathan said along with going through your treatments, the key to recovery is keeping a positive attitude, eating well and exercising.

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