I love In-N-Out burgers.
So I was thrilled to go there for dinner with my parents. While we waited for our order to be called, we sat in a booth and talked about work ─ their work and mine. Finally, when our food was ready, I unwrapped and bit into my cheeseburger. That was when my mom said, “I didn’t know there are different types of lung cancer.”
At first I thought she was joking.
That morning, I had just spent hours listening to panel discussion about lung cancer mutations that was recorded at a recent scientific meeting in Santa Monica. Five lung cancer experts talked about lung cancer mutations in terms of screening costs, ethnic probabilities and public policies. They threw around the names of different lung cancers like knife jugglers, knowing exactly where science had a good grasp on these cancers and where these cancers could dangerously evade treatment. The audience kept up with them and listeners submitted intelligent and detailed questions.
I ate a french fry and looked at my dad. He nodded, “Yeah, me neither.”
I was struck by the differences between my parents and the people involved with the webinar. But after thinking about it, I decided that it must be fairly common.
As we start to learn more about any topic, say sports cars, it is natural to assume that everyone around us is also learning about the nuances of steering columns and engine placements. We automatically start using slag and short-hand to discuss issues. And we don’t even mention the well-known caveats because, well, they are already known.
Lung cancer is no exception.
The more involved we get in the lung cancer community, the more it begins to feel like everyone is well-versed in the nuances of the disease. That’s why, from time to time, it is so important to step out of our community and discuss lung cancer with others. It is a great reality check for the importance of lung cancer awareness plus, it also provides the perfect opportunity to educate someone.
I put my cheeseburger down and took a sip of water to clear my throat.
It was time to do some explaining.