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Letter to Your Local Newspaper
(Note: You can copy and past into your own word program and edit. The background will not be transferred with it)
Date goes here
To the Editor:
It's the 4th leading cause of death in our country and soon to be the third. There's 750,000 "diagnosed" cases and at least half that many again misdiagnosed or undiagnosed. Since 2000 the death rate in women has grown at twice the rate of deaths from breast cancer. And; it's going to get worse.
But rarely do you see anything published in this or any other newspaper. Are we lepers?
What is it? It's COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). It's progressive, it kills, there's no cure. A simple cold can be deadly to someone like us and if you didn't know what it was, you're not alone. Many family physicians don't know much about the disease either. In a nutshell, it destroys the lungs and obstructs the airways. You can't breathe, it restricts activity, causes frequent flare ups and ER visits and death.
You don't see us but we're here. Some can't even do what I'm doing; writing this letter.
At least 80% of the COPD cases are caused by smoking. Hereditary, indoor and outdoor pollution, industrial chemicals and a gene deficiency known as Alpha-1 are all contributors. It's no longer an "old person's disease." People are developing it now in their 30's and 40's and for those people who once smoked and quit, they're not out of the woods. They can still develop it. Quitting only slows the progression.
Our Government has no national strategy or, many provinces don't fund the latest, more effective medicines under their drug plans, yet these drugs have been proven to reduce visits to Dr's and hospitals. Some of these medicines are the same ones used to treat asthma; like our Prime Minister has. The symptoms are similar, but the consequences more deadly.
So where are the taxes from tobacco products going? It certainly isn't towards research, treatments or medicines for this disease. Perhaps it's going to our national deficit or to build roads or travel overseas for our members of parliament?
For those of us who can't speak out; for your relatives and friends with COPD, please don't let our government create a "profit centre" for monies that should be directed towards the disease itself. And for those of you who want to learn more about the sad state of affairs in our province, or have recently been diagnosed and feeling the loneliness that goes with it, you can visit the COPD Canada Patient Network website at www.copdcanada.ca. You are NOT alone.
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This page was last updated January 9th, 2010