Dana Reeve is gone. It’s taken me two days to be able to write these words. Only 44 years old. A non-smoker. Felled by the same fucking disease that took my mother only 5 weeks ago today.

I cannot even begin to explain the fear that dwells within me. My family has been wiped out by cancer. My siblings, my parents. Only me now. My grandmother died from lung cancer 35 years ago. My doctor says it’s a good thing I’m not a smoker. I would be headed for trouble as it seems there may be a genetic predisposition.

I am angry.

I am angry that breast cancer gets all the publicity and all the research dollars. Lung cancer kills more women every year than breast, ovarian and colorectal cancer COMBINED!

Let me say that again.

Lung cancer kills more women every year than breast, ovarian and colorectal cancer COMBINED.

Among women, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths, and has been for the past 12 years, killing 70,000 women each year.

There is no early screening tool for lung cancer. Some early lung tumors can be detected by X-rays or CT scans however the majority of lung cancers are not detected until they are in advanced stages of disease and their cure rate is dismally and appallingly low.

I know more about cancer than I ever wanted to know. I understand there are people in this world who have never lost a loved one in death. I am so grateful they have that gift. I wish I did too.

Please…if you smoke…QUIT! If you don’t smoke…don’t start. Encourage your loved ones to stop as well. The addiction is terrible and I know it’s hard…so hard to break. PLEASE MAKE THE EFFORT! Make yourself aware of the signs and symptoms of lung cancer. I am listing them below:


Shortness of breath


Chest pain

Hemoptysis (bloody, coughed-up sputum)

Loss of appetite

Weight loss

Pneumonia (inflammation of the lungs)



Swallowing difficulties

Speech difficulties or changes (e.g., hoarseness)

Finger/nail abnormalities (e.g., “clubbing,” or overgrowth of the fingertip tissue)

Skin paleness or bluish discoloration

Muscle contractions or atrophy (shrinkage)

Joint pain or swelling

Facial swelling or paralysis

Eyelid drooping

Bone pain/tenderness

Breast development in men

If you or someone you love has any of these symptoms, contact your doctor. If they brush you off or tell you “it’s only…”, insist on the appropriate tests or find another doctor. Finding a tumor in stage 1 versus stage 3 or 4 will be the difference between life and death…LITERALLY.

And one other thing…if you labor under the belief that you can’t possibly get lung cancer because you’re not a smoker…just go back and read again the news of Dana Reeve’s passing on Monday.



25 responses to this post.

  1. This post made me shudder. It must have been so hard to hear of this news, especially after losing your mom.



  2. I am so sorry this dredged it all back up for you.

    I think breast cancer gets attention in America because breasts themselves get so much attention in America. (I’m not being a smartass, either.) But you’re right, lung cancer deserves more, much more, especially since it hits non-smokers, too. (That made me shudder, and I’m sure it did that and then some for you. *hug*)

    Thank you so much for sharing that list of symptoms and trying to make some good come out of this.


  3. I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge. Knowledge is power.


  4. it had to have been so hard to write this post. I know how raw the grief must still be from losing your Mom.
    You have been in my thoughts.
    I hope that each day gets a little better and that your heartache eases in time.
    big hugs,
    (thanks so much for checking in on me–you are such a kind friend, hugs to you sweetie)


  5. Oh honey… I don’t know what to say. I didn’t even think of what a blow this would be to you when I saw it on the news. Applause to you for channeling your sorrow and anger into a very useful public service by posting information about the disease. You made me aware of things I didn’t know about lung cancer, and symptoms I would never have thought to check or associate with the disease. Hugs and peace to you, Traci.


  6. I hope your post helps someone quite. I really applaud you for posting it. I quit back in 98 after smoking for over 15 years.. hopefully soon enough to have made a difference.



  7. Thanks for the thoughtful post. I must admit, I assumed Dana was a tobacco smoker because most lung cancer is caused by that … or so I thought!


  8. Hi there, glad you let me know you moved.
    I too felt so much of what you did when Dana died.
    Even after three years, it’s so easy to feel that anger again.

    I’m with you.
    Always here.
    I care.

    (and a hi to Karen who we haven’t seen around here in a good while !)


  9. My mom has been saying the same thing… breast cancer is the popular thing to fight, even though lung cancer kills more women. She said if we spent as much time on lung cancer awareness as we do on breast cancer awareness, fewer women would die. She said it makes her feel like since she didn’t have breast cancer, no one gives a damn.

    My mom’s cancer was found by accident. Because of that, it was caught early. She lost part of her lung, and has been cancer free since June. I worry too. Even though I’m not a smoker and never have been, my mom smoked for 40 years. My brother, sister and I all have asthma, and I am convinced it’s due to my parents smoking around us as we grew up. You and I have been through similar things with our mothers, both emotionally and physically. the only difference is that my mom’s cancer was caught very early, so the outcome was very different. Now my mom says that if any of the nodules she has in her lungs turn cancerous, she’s going to go back to smoking and refuse treatment. Lovely, huh?

    You are a strong, brave woman and I am blessed to have met you.


  10. Thanks for telling us you “moved”.

    Kudo’s to you for the PSA. You want
    to come and work with me?

    I was shocked when I heard Dana died.
    But again you know best how horrendous
    lung cancer is to a person.


    You are a dear, and I hope you are
    doing OK. I know OK is all very
    relative. Losing a parent at any
    age is always very difficult.

    Big Hugs,


  11. Hey, Traci. I could really just copy Eclectic’s whole comment. That’s what I wanted to say. I did learn things here, that I will remember. I am so sorry for what a tough time this is for you. Bless you for stying to help others while you deal with your own pain.


  12. (((((((((Traci)))))))))) many hugs to you–Lea


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  16. My condolences for your mother, and kudos to you for writing this powerful entry.

    Peace rightbackatcha.


  17. hi traci
    i’m very sorry for your loss, and thank you so much for posting such valuable info on lung cancer during this very difficult time.


  18. I love you Traci Friend. For the words that you share and the love that you share. I simply love you.



  19. Just checking back in… wishing you peace.


  20. OY VEY-F’ing cancer everywhere.

    NO NO NO we don’t want Nikki to
    leave us.

    Thanks for the visit.



  21. Stopped by to see if you posted again. Been thinking of you….


  22. Just checking in. Hope you’re doing OK. XOXO


  23. Just stopping by to say hello, and to see how you’re doing. Haven’t heard much from you lately, and I worry.


  24. OK no tears Traci-I will be back.

    I expect you to be here when I return.

    You are one of my most favorite bloggers. I will miss you.



  25. Does it help to know that after reading this post I chose my quit date and put it on the calendar? It’s all I can offer you ~ but it’s yours. And I thank you.


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