Illuminating lung cancer

First Posted: 11/18/2014

To raise awareness for lung cancer during November, Lung Cancer Awareness Month, the Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA) PA Chapter practically took over the Courthouse Square.

Creating a sea of blue and white flags representing those who annually lose their battle with lung cancer, 1600 flags were planted. Each flag represents 100 people for a final amount of 160,000 — the number of people who lose the fight with lung cancer every year.

The Shine A Light on Lung Cancer Vigil, according to Lung Cancer Alliance PA Chapter, was a great success.

Enduring cold weather, rain and snow, those who are fighting lung cancer, caregivers, advocates and family members of those passed met in front of the flag garden.

Shine a Light on Lung Cancer is the largest lung cancer event in the world, taking place in 200 cities across the US and in multiple countries. The Scranton event was held at the Courthouse Square, and kicked off with Jim Sweeney playing the bag pipes. Speakers discussed lung cancer, the effects and screening. Mayor Courtright and County Commissioner Patrick O’Malley attended, reading proclamations regarding Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Senator Blake also sent a proclamation.

Flashlights and glow sticks were given to all participants. Photos of loved ones affected by or lost to lung cancer were featured.

Before the event started and the wintery weather moved in, the Marywood Art Society created caricatures and placed lung cancer facts on the sidewalk directly in front of the flag garden. Catching the attention of passerby, the chalk art was a bold statement of the dark facts of lung cancer, such as, “Lung Cancer is the least funded cancer,” which was scrolled across the walkway.

The LCA is attempting to have more screening done for not only high risk patients, but regular screening that has proven success from other cancers. With screening being initially passed for those with Medicare and Medicaid, attendees of the recent event have a new sense of hope. Breast and prostate cancer have both been reduced after widely used and accepted screening.

A lung cancer support group is held at 6:30 p.m. the first Wednesday of each month at the Center for Comprehensive Cancer Care, 5 Morgan Highway, Scranton. More information on the LCA can be found at

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