Lung Cancer Awareness Month
Lung cancer is the second most common type of cancer but is the leading cause of cancer death in America. Every November, awareness is raised to encourage disease prevention, symptom awareness, and possible early detection. Early diagnosis of cancer allows for improved treatment options and may improve chances of survival.
Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer causing about 90% of cases
Particle pollution (i.e., exhaust)
Hazardous chemicals (i.e., dust and fumes - asbestos, arsenic, some petroleum products, etc)
Radiation exposure to the chest
Possible symptoms of lung cancer include:
A persistent cough that may get worse over time
Wheezing or shortness of breath
Recurrent infections (i.e., bronchitis or pneumonia)
Coughing up blood
Unexplained weight loss, decreased appetite, headaches, blood clots, and bone pain are more generalized/non-specific symptoms that could also be associated with lung cancer.
Because there are fewer nerves in the lungs, a tumor could unknowingly grow without the usual signs of discomfort or pain. By the time symptoms begin showing, the cancer has likely advanced and spread.
Currently, low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) is the only recognized method for effective lung cancer screening. Those who are 55-80 years old, have a 30 pack-year history, and are currently smoking or have quit within the last 15 years are considered high-risk and would benefit from screening. If the cancer is caught early enough, treatment can be implemented while the cancer is manageable, increasing a person’s chances of survival.
Learn more about Lung Screening.