People who have been treated for asbestos lung cancer are well aware of the fact that tobacco use is not the only cause of this disease. Former NFL linebacker Chris Draft knows this after watching his wife succumb to the illness just a month after they wed, despite never having smoked in her life.
“When someone has cancer, don’t just ask about treatment. Let them live along this journey. Take them to movies, soccer games, barbeques, whatever it is to be able to continue to live,” he said of his experience.
Today, Draft is using his celebrity status to partner with the American Cancer Society to raise awareness of lung cancer research. Specifically, they want people to volunteer for studies in which scientists are investigating certain mutations that may increase the risk of lung cancer among nonsmokers. Not only will this campaign boost research, but it can also decrease the social stigma placed on lung cancer, which some people erroneously generalize as an illness caused by the patients themselves.
The Environmental Working Group estimates that 4,800 individuals in the U.S. die every year because of asbestos-induced lung cancer. Hopefully, Draft and the ACS will succeed in helping scientists figure out why nonsmokers develop mutations, and what can be done to fix it.