The Canadian Lung Association and Lung Cancer Canada, in partnership with the Global Lung Cancer Coalition (GLCC), are pleased to announce that Alexandra Scott of Calgary, Alberta is the winner of the first Lung Cancer Student Journalism Award.
"The goal of this award is to recognize excellence in student reporting on lung cancer and to raise awareness about this terrible disease,” says Heather Borquez, CEO and president of the Canadian Lung Association. "We were very impressed with Alexandra’s writing and solid reporting skills, and even more importantly, her passion for raising awareness and reducing the stigma associated with it.
"No one deserves to die of lung cancer. We thank Alexandra Scott for her wonderful piece reminding the public of this important killer of Canadians, including smokers, former smokers and never smokers,” says Peter F. Mackenzie of Lung Cancer Canada. "We hope that increasing awareness will lead to more research funding and better treatments for lung cancer, as well as a screening program and greater efforts in the area of prevention and tobacco control. At Lung Cancer Canada we believe there should be no shame in having lung cancer.”
Alexandra’s feature radio story "Get to Know the Person, Not the Disease
” focused on the harsh stigma attached to lung cancer and the psychological and emotional impact the disease has on patients, families and caregivers.
"My grandmother died from lung cancer. It was a very sad time for my family, especially for my dad and my grandpa, and I always had many questions. I wondered why she was diagnosed, seeing that she had never smoked,” says Alexandra, who is broadcast journalism and communication studies student at SAIT Polytechnic in Calgary, Alberta. "I wondered why society had a lack of compassion for those with the disease, and where the judgment came from.”
Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women, claiming the lives of 20,500 Canadians in 2009
. People with lung cancer are often stigmatized for their disease, which is often seen as a "smokers” disease, whereas in fact, 15 percent of those with lung cancer have never smoked.
A recent survey found that one in five Canadians admits feeling less sympathetic towards lung cancer sufferers because of its known association with smoking cigarettes and other tobacco products.
In her feature report, Alexandra interviewed an oncologist, an advocacy worker, a lung cancer counselor, a woman who had had lung cancer deaths in her family, and a lung cancer survivor. "Every single person I interviewed told me that there is a lot of judgment around lung cancer and that those with the disease often feel guilty and alone. As Lisa, a Calgary lung cancer counselor, told me, "Just taking the time to listen to a person’s story is one of the most respectful ways to help support them.
"I am honoured to have been awarded this scholarship. Preparing my radio report helped me understand my grandmother’s last years of life, and I hope that it will help others better comprehend lung cancer.”
About The Canadian Lung Association
Established in 1900, The Canadian Lung Association is one of Canada’s oldest and most respected health charities, and the leading national organization for science-based information, research, education, support programs, and advocacy on lung health issues.
About Lung Cancer Canada
Established in 2002, Lung Cancer Canada remains the only organization in the country that is sole dedicated to the support and education of those affected by lung cancer and their families, and to raising awareness about lung cancer nationwide.
About the Global Lung Cancer Coalition
The Global Lung Cancer Coalition (GLCC) is an international group of patient organizations dedicated to supporting the needs of lung cancer patients. The GLCC is also the first truly international patient alliance to promote global understanding of the burden of lung cancer and the rights of patients to effective early detection, better treatment and supportive care.
 Canadian Cancer Society’s Steering Committee: Canadian Cancer Statistics 2009. Toronto: Canadian Cancer Society. 2009
 Lung Cancer Canada. Did You Know? Available at: http://www.lungcancercanada.ca/Education/Did_you_know/General_statistics.html
. Accessed on July 5, 2010.
 Global Lung Cancer Coalition. Perceptions of lung cancer in Canada: An Ipsos MORI report for the Global Lung Cancer Coalition