Lung Cancer Alliance works to end stigma with controversial ad campaign


by Amy Stallings

Posted on July 18, 2012 at 6:35 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 18 at 6:42 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- You may have seen the ads on the sides of bus shelters and what you see may shock you but that's the whole point. To make people stop and think.

The Lung Cancer Alliance is behind the controversial ad campaign and it's goal is to end the stigma that's attached to those living with lung cancer.

It's a shocking ad campaign that's sweeping the internet. You'll see it on Facebook and You Tube. Across Louisville you will see the disturbing messages on bus shelters - phrases like "cat lovers deserve to die" or "the smug deserve to die." The message is designed to bring awareness to lung cancer.

Survivor Teresa Secor said she believes this unconventional approach is accomplishing its mission.

"There's a lot of ways you can get lung cancer. It's not just a smoker's disease. And these ads, that's the message in these ads that we want to get out is the stigma of lung cancer that it's a smoker's disease has to stop," Secor said.

The point of the campaign is no one deserves to die, especially those with lung cancer. The Lung Cancer Alliance hopes this will end the stigma attached to those with lung cancer. A label that Secor felt firsthand.

"When I tell people that I have lung cancer or I had lung cancer, I am a survivor, the first thing they say to me is 'you smoke?' No. 'Did you used to smoke?' No," Secor said.

Secor had to have the lower portion of her left lung removed because of the cancer. . been cancer free two years. Secor said she was never a smoker, but somehow she felt others Still looked at her like she somehow deserved the cancer.

"No one deserves lung cancer. No matter how you got the cancer, no one deserves it," Secor said.

Less than half of people with lung never smoked. 60 percent of people with lung cancer smoked, 20 percent never smoked and the other 20 percent got it from some kind of occupational hazard.

Cancer free for two years now, Secor said she hopes this campaign will make people stop and think, and hopefully become more educated about lung cancer.
"I always say I don't know why the Lord gave me this cancer. To me it's a privilege to have it because now I know what he wants me to do," Secor said.
She said she has made it her mission to end the judgments and the stigma attached to this disease.
To find out more about lung cancer and this campaign go to or