NOVEMBER IS LUNG CANCER AWARENESS MONTH
According to the American Cancer Society and various other organizations, November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month.
Lung Cancer Awareness month began as Lung Cancer Awareness Day in 1995. As awareness about lung cancer grew, so did the demand for more research, education, fundraising activities regarding this disease. Eventually, lung cancer got the attention it deserves with Lung Cancer Awareness Month.
Interestingly, there is also a World Lung Cancer Awareness Day observed annually around the globe on August 1.
How is Lung Cancer Awareness Month Observed?
What happens During Lung Cancer Awareness Month? There are endless ways people can participate in Lung Cancer Awareness Month. There are activities of all types that are run by various organizations.
Local and national organizations often host events designed to meet their goals. Goals often include one of the following:
- fundraising to support lung cancer research
- to raise awareness
- providing support for lung cancer patients, survivors, and the lung cancer community of caregivers
What Can You Do To Participate in Lung Cancer Month?
There is ample opportunity to become involved in activities in November that can give you a better understanding of lung cancer, improve your lung health, and help other people. For example,
- Individuals can participate in educational programs or bring one to their office, school or community. There are virtual and in-person programs that can teach you about lung cancer, how to spot it, and ways to reduce your risks of developing it.
- If you smoke, quit for 24 hours (or more). The Great American Smokeout is the third Thursday in November and is the day the American Cancer Society challenges the nation’s smokers to give up cigarettes for one day.
- You and your family can participate in a fun run to raise money for research.
- You might do something as simple as making an appointment to get a lung cancer screening.
- If you know someone getting treatment for lung cancer or a lung cancer survivor, spend time with them if you can. Offer to drive someone to treatment, run errands, or other ways to help. If you can’t be there in person, call and ask them about their cancer experience and any lessons they may have learned. You can also observe Lung Cancer Awareness Month by sending cards or gifts to remind them that they have your support.
Exactly how you observe Lung Cancer Awareness Month is up to you. But, try to do something. Lung cancer affects too many people to be ignored. In 2021 there will be approximately 235,760 new cases of lung cancer diagnosed. There will be nearly 132,000 deaths from lung cancer. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/lung-cancer/about/key-statistics.html
One of these people could be someone you love.
Understanding the Symptoms Can Help Detect Lung Cancer
Like many cancers, the longer lung cancer exists without being caught, the worse it can be for the patient. With lung cancer, for various reasons, many people don’t recognize or even feel symptoms until cancer progresses.
For example, many of the symptoms of lung cancer are often attributed to other health issues or conditions. A lingering cough might be chalked up to allergies. You might think your shortness of breath is because you are “out of shape.”
But, understanding the signs of lung cancer just might lead you to seek a medical opinion sooner rather than later.
Speak to your doctor about lung cancer if your symptoms resemble some of the ones below. You should be your best advocate when it comes to your health. Knowing the signs of lung cancer can be critical to ensuring you receive appropriate medical attention.
What Are Some Symptoms of Lung Cancer?
When symptoms do emerge, they can be different for everyone. According to the CDC, some signs of lung cancer can include:
- Persistent coughing (coughing that does not go away and gets worse over time)
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Unexplained weight loss
- Extreme and constant fatigue
- Coughing up blood
- Repeated bouts of pneumonia
- Swollen lymph nodes in the chest area
Schedule an appointment with a doctor if you notice any of these symptoms. If you think you might have a risk of lung cancer, talk to your doctor about being screened. Remember that being persistent could save your life.
Ways to Reduce Your Lung Cancer Risk
Lung cancer causes the most cancer deaths around the world, and some people are at greater risk of developing it. For example, if your dad or mother had lung cancer, you might have an increased risk of having the disease. If you have undergone radiation therapy in the chest area for another type of cancer, you also have a greater chance of lung cancer.
These are some risks you can’t do much about- except be diligent about getting screened.
Like many cancers, though, there are things you can do that might reduce your risk of developing lung cancer. The Mayo Clinic offers some ways to lower your risk of lung cancer:
- Don’t smoke. If you never smoked, don’t start. Smoking is the #1 cause of all lung cancer.
- Quit smoking. Now. Even if you have smoked for decades quitting can reduce your risk of lung cancer.
- Get regular exercise.
- Stay away from second-hand cigarette smoke. If you live with a smoker, make them smoke outside the home.
- Check radon levels in your home and remediate if they are high.
- Avoid exposure to toxic chemicals in your home and at work. Follow proper safety protocols at work to avoid breathing in dangerous chemicals. Learn about ways to limit your exposure to carcinogens in and out of the home.
- Eat a healthy diet with foods like fruits and vegetables that contain vitamins and minerals.
Living a healthy lifestyle can be a vital part of maintaining your overall well-being. Not smoking, exercising regularly, and eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can reduce your risk of many cancers, not just lung cancer.
If you are unsure how to observe Lung Cancer Awareness Month, consider picking something from the list above and committing to it. It might feel great to know you are doing something proactive to reduce your cancer risk.
Send A Helpful Gift Basket to Someone With Lung Cancer
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