*For Patti LaBelle, the fight to end lung cancer is very personal.
After losing her two sisters, Vivian and Jackie, to the disease in the ‘80s, the singer took an active path in the struggle with becoming a spokeswoman for the American Lung Association’s Lung Force initiative.
In LaBelle’s eyes, the objective is to make sure that other women and more individuals are aware of the risk and effects of lung cancer early on by early detection.
“[Lung cancer] is something I didn’t know very much about, even [after] losing two sisters. I never was aware because of how quickly you’re diagnosed and how quickly you die,” she told The Root. “I’m here as a spokesperson to hopefully encourage more people to look and listen.”
Referencing American Lung Association data, the site reports that about 1 percent of more than 1,000 American adult women surveyed were concerned about the disease. Although some 67 percent of black women believe that breast cancer is more of a concern than lung cancer, the survival rate for lung cancer, which is 17 percent, is a mere fraction of the breast-cancer survival rate at approximately 89 percent.
“Lung cancer has been so deadly in the past, [and] there aren’t that many survivors who can serve to raise awareness and to promote research and education on behalf of the disease,” Dr. Andrea McKee, a radiation oncologist at Lahey Hospital and Medical Center in Burlington, Mass., told The Root.
News of LaBelle’s involvement comes as November is recognized as Lung Cancer Awareness Month. The effort to spread awareness of the disease is a priority, considering how the lack of lung cancer survivors is partially to blame for not much attention being paid to new opportunities for early-detection.
As part of its efforts. the initiative is promoting turquoise as the color to represent lung health. To further the cause, Labelle is doing double duty for the ALA with working closely with the initiative to create a short film that will center on how lung cancer has affected her life and the lives of others. The film is set to debut during National Women’s Lung Health Week, beginning May 8, 2016.
“I’m an entertainer, Patti LaBelle, and people listen to me a lot, they hear my voice, the entertainer told the site, while recognizing the power of her voice as a singer and voicing hope that this carries over into fans being open and listening to her as a spokeswoman for lung-cancer prevention. “And so I want them to hear my voice as the speaker, not as the singer, and to bring as much awareness to lung cancer as possible,” she said. “I’m going to wear my turquoise and talk about it for not just November but for the rest of my life.”
For more about LaBelle’s involvement with the American Lung Association Lung Force initiative, click here.