Lung Cancer Awareness Month



Overview

November Is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer of women and men in the United States. Lung cancer begins in the organs, the lungs. The lungs are a pair of spongy organs located on either side of the chest. The lungs take in oxygen when a person inhales and releases carbon dioxide when a person exhales. Smoking is the greatest risk factor for lung cancer; however, lung cancer can occur in people who have never smoked. The longer a person has been smoking cigarettes, the greater the chances of getting lung cancer. Quitting smoking is essential to preventing lung cancer, regardless of how many years a person has been smoking. Throughout the month of November, observe, Lung Cancer Awareness Month, by educating yourself on lung cancer and spreading awareness.


Lung Cancer Symptoms

At the earliest stages of lung cancer symptoms do not always occur. Once the cancer has advanced, symptoms typically appear. Look out for the symptoms below and see a doctor immediately if any symptoms arise and persist.

  • A new cough that doesn't go away

  • Coughing up blood, even a small amount

  • Shortness of breath

  • Chest pain

  • Hoarseness

  • Losing weight without trying

  • Bone pain

  • Headache


Lung Cancer Causes

Smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer. It is important to quit smoking because lung cancer can also occur in people form secondhand smoke. Smoking damages the cells that line the lungs. At first your body might be able to repair the damage, but the longer one smokes, the more damage there is to the normal cells lining the lungs. The cells act abnormally due to the damage and cancer can then develop. In lung cancer cases of people who have never smoked, the cause is unknown.


Lung Cancer Risk Factors

The risk factors below may increase a person’s chance of developing lung cancer.

  • Smoking

  • Exposure to secondhand smoke

  • Previous radiation therapy

  • Exposure to radon gas

  • Exposure to asbestos and other carcinogens

  • Family history of lung cancer


Lung Cancer Treatment

Lung cancer can be treated in different ways, depending on the progression of the cancer. Lung cancer can be treated with surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, target therapy, or a combination of treatments. A doctor will determine the best course of treatment based on the stage of cancer.


Celebrate Lung Cancer Awareness Month

  • Share your story: Share how lung cancer has affected you and your loved ones to social media to help spread awareness of this deadly disease.

  • Wear a white ribbon: Order a white ribbon and other Lung Cancer Awareness Month merchandise, such as pens, shirts, and more to show your support.

  • Donate: Help fund critical lung cancer research by making a donation to life saving research.


References

1. “2021 Lung Cancer Awareness Month: Lung Cancer Initiative.” Lung Cancer Initiative, Lung Cancer Initiative of North Carolina, https://www.lungcancerinitiativenc.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=pages.2021-lung-cancer-awareness-month.

2. “How Is Lung Cancer Diagnosed and Treated?” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 18 Oct. 2021, https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/lung/basic_info/diagnosis_treatment.htm.

3. Mayo Clinic Staff. “Lung Cancer.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 23 Mar. 2021, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/lung-cancer/symptoms-causes/syc-20374620.

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