From the fight against flames to the fight against stigma: retired firefighters advocate support for lung cancer | WBNS-10TV Columbus, Ohio


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), lung cancer is the leading cause of death among men and women across the country, but some say the disease is associated with the stigma associated with smoking.

10TV spoke to a retired firefighter who said that was not the case. At least it was not for him and many others.

It took a while to identify cancer with Timothy Smith, who was a lieutenant in the district of Basil Join.

Advertisement – The story continues below

"Maybe the job and the role of father had been entrusted to me and that all that was only in my head and that's what everyone feels. I'm just tired all the time, "said Smith, remembering what had crossed his mind when he noticed that his health was starting to deteriorate.

Firefighters generally work 24 hours a day, 48 hours off, and balance a family, so fatigue is not unusual.

It took a swelling in the neck to trigger the alarm for the doctors, who told him that he had stage 4 lung cancer.

"I could not go back to work," Smith said. "I would have loved to be back to work, but the doctors knew it was not going to be a possibility yet."

Smith's life as a firefighter for 16 years has changed forever.

"I started at the age of 18, I planned to do it until I was 60 years old. So it was one of the hardest things to overcome, "said Smith. "The diagnosis was major, but not being able to get back to the job you love is one more shot."

Staying positive is possible thanks to the support of his friends and family, he said, but also the possibility of medical advances.

"Everybody's asking, you know, I thought you were taking chemotherapy. Well, I am, but with all these new funds and research, I am able to follow the new targeted chemotherapy, which allows me to feel better about traditional medicine and be able to live a somewhat normal life, " said Smith, referring to the complete beard that he had developed with targeted chemotherapy.

But when it comes to advancing lung cancer research and screening, Dr. Smith said it was difficult to overcome the stigma associated with the disease.

"There are thousands of people, like me, who never smoke and are diagnosed with Stage 4 or, you know, early stage lung cancer," he said.

Smith's mission is now to advocate for more progress and support so that others do not feel what he has experienced.

"This drug I'm taking has just been released in the last few years and it's all the new revolutionary stuff that they did not imagine, and that's it," said Smith. "So, in the next five years, who knows what will happen? That's how I keep my hope.

Smith was honored for his plea by the Midland States Lung Association at his annual "Lung Force Gala" on Friday, June 7th.

In adding to the celebration, Smith's wife told 10TV that her family had received good news at a doctor's appointment Friday morning.

The tumor in Smith's left lung has narrowed again. Check back with 10TV for updates on Timothy Smith's trip.

Lung cancer can be caused by smoking and second-hand smoke, but other causes may surprise many.

Radon exposure can significantly increase the risk of lung cancer. In the United States, one in 15 households is exposed to a colorless and odorless radioactive gas. Learn more about preventing radon exposure here.

Other dangerous chemicals, such as asbestos and uranium, dust and fumes, can cause lung cancer and are particularly dangerous in some workplaces.

The particulate pollution found in the air that we break can cause lung cancer.

Finally, genetic factors may also increase the risk of developing lung cancer.


Source link