Updated: Feb 15
The National Lung Cancer Roundtable (NLCRT) is a national coalition of voluntary organizations and individuals dedicated to reducing the incidence of, and mortality from, lung cancer in the United States.
The Roundtable recently held its first Stigma Summit in Atlanta, Georgia. Sixty-five attendees from across the U.S. came together to identify issues affected by the stigma of lung cancer and strategize about how to eliminate it. The group included ten patients and caregivers.
We had excellent speakers, including medical oncologists, pulmonologists, primary care physicians, researchers, and survivors. After seeing the results of studies on stigma and hearing how survivors were personally impacted, we broke out into small groups to tackle six main issues we had identified.
After brainstorming, we identified tactics to address the stigma and challenges we may encounter along the way. Each group shared the features and benefits of each strategy; then the whole group gave feedback. I really feel this was a great way to get a lot of minds together to tackle each aspect of the stigma.
The goal of this meeting was not to walk out with all the answers but to start the process. As far as next steps, the NLCRT chairs are working on a statement that will be shared with all attendees so we can put out a unified message surrounding the stigma associated with lung cancer.
I feel optimistic about this summit and was encouraged to see the passion and commitment in the room. I was pleased they not only gave survivors a seat at the table, but truly listened to, and asked for, our input. As we all know, actions speak louder than words. I hope to see action taken on this in the near future. especially from the larger organizations involved that have the most influence. We must change the conversation around lung cancer and ensure that every single patient is treated with empathy and has access to treatments regardless of their smoking history