Shining a light on lung cancer awareness

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month as dozens gathered to shine a light on the deadly disease and spotlight the importance of screening.

Hundreds of white and blue flags filled Courthouse Square in Scranton, each representing the nearly 140,000 lives lost to lung cancer this year. The powerful visuals were part of the annual shine the light vigil.

“It’s big for us because we’re here in her memory,” said Nyasia Owens.

Nyasia Owens lost her mother Gladys Braswell Fortney to the deadly disease just three years ago.

“Me and my sisters, we come here every year as a representation of her and to know that we are still praying for the survivors out there and people that are battling this terrible disease and we’re praying for them and we wish them the best of luck,” explained Owens.

A picture of her mother was displayed during an emotional slideshow presentation of both victims and survivors.

“They’re all different ages, they’re all different people, all walks of life,” Dr. Karen Arscott, lung cancer survivor & PA Lung founding director, said.

Through community events like this, the mission of the non-profit PA Lung is to raise awareness and offer support to those touched by lung cancer.

Arscott was first diagnosed with lung cancer in 2006 and has beaten the disease twice.

“I had about a 9 to 14 percent chance of living five years. And as a physician, I was kind of very surprised that somebody as healthy as me, that didn’t have any risk factors, could develop a disease so deadly,” explained Arscott.

She leads efforts to educate the community on the key to beating lung cancer.

“Lung cancer screening does work, and you need to get screened, and that is how we’re going to reduce the mortality of lung cancer,” stated Arscott.

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