5 Important Facts to Mark Lung Cancer Awareness Month
Lung cancer kills more men and women each year in the United States than any other form of cancer. However, early detection and effective treatments are helping patients live longer and even beat the disease.
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Educating the Public About a Deadly Disease
November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Each year, members of the medical community, non-profits, and patient organizations join forces to raise money for research and bring the disease back into the public eye.
Pleural mesothelioma, which affects the lining of the lungs and chest cavity, is one of the rarest and most deadly forms of lung cancer. Mesothelioma Hub understands the importance of raising awareness and funding studies to find new treatments and therapies for patients.
As a patient advocate site, we spend our days researching, writing, and publishing the latest information for our visitors. When it comes to your health, knowledge is power. The more you know about a disease, the better decisions you’ll make when it comes to treatment and lifestyle choices.
Lung Cancer Facts and Figures
Each year, an estimated 2.1 million people are diagnosed with lung cancer. The disease killed 1.8 million in 2018. Want to know more? Here are five important facts we’ve learned to mark lung cancer awareness month:
- Age Makes a Difference:
The majority of people living with lung cancer received that diagnosis in the last five years. A large percentage of those patients are older adults, making lung cancer a “senior disease.” Statistics from 2015 show that 86 percent of people with lung cancer were at least 60 years old.
- Smoking is bad, and Gender Plays a Role:
We don’t have to tell you cigarettes aren’t a healthy lifestyle choice. Smoking causes both small cell and non-small cell cancers, killing 80 percent of women and 90 percent of men. Men who smoke increase their chances of developing lung cancer by 23 percent, compared to 13 percent of women smokers.
- You Don’t Have to Smoke to Develop Lung Cancer:
You made a change, and you’ve put down the cigarettes. Or, you never smoked in the first place. Great! Unfortunately, non-smokers are also at risk for developing lung cancer, primarily if they work or live with smokers. Secondhand smoke increases a non-smoker’s cancer risk by 20 to 30 percent.
- Symptoms Don’t Tell The Whole Story:
A majority of patients don’t even have symptoms until the cancer reaches more advanced stages. To make things more complicated, different patients will experience various symptoms. Some mesothelioma patients will live for years without knowing they have the disease. Sometimes, a simple cough may be misdiagnosed as a more common illness until a patient’s symptoms become severe.
- Early Detection is Key:
Low-dose CT screening helps detect cancer at an earlier stage for people in the “high-risk” population and improves survival rates by 14 to 20 percent. How? When it comes to detection, the earlier, the better. Those diagnosed with early-stage lung cancer can start treatment immediately when the disease is more likely to be curable.
Reducing Your Cancer Risk
Not sure if you fall into the “high-risk” category? Consider these common risk factors for developing lung cancer:
- Exposure to radon gas
- Asbestos exposure
- Family history of lung cancer
- Air pollution
- Past radiation treatments
- Older than 65
If you have one or more of these risk factors, or if you work in an industry where asbestos use is common, like construction, manufacturing, or serving in the U.S. military, talk to your doctor. She can determine whether or not you’re a candidate for early screening.
If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be eligible for compensation. Complete our free case evaluation form to connect with a qualified mesothelioma attorney.