November is National Lung Cancer Awareness Month. White ribbons are being displayed around the city to raise public awareness.
The statistics are discouraging. Lung cancer is the most common cancer-related death in men and women. Too often empathy is lacking, because society in general views lung cancer as being self-inflicted by smoking. As a nonsmoker, it would be very easy for me to say, "What is the big deal? Just don't buy any more cigarettes!" In reality, quitting smoking is a very big deal - probably one of the most difficult things an individual will face.
The good news is that there are free programs available in our community to help people kick the habit. One is the American Cancer Society Fresh Start Program. The 30th Annual American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout will be Nov. 16. I encourage anyone contemplating quitting to take this day and reach out for help.
Cheryl Wheeler, Augusta
(Editor's note: The writer, who volunteers with the American Cancer Society and chairs Live Healthy CSRA, is the cancer registry coordinator for University Health Care System in Augusta.)