November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month.
This year’s campaign is “Share Your Story.” “We believe that when one person shares their story, it causes a ripple effect that gives others permission to do the same. This ultimately builds a more supportive community and helps move us towards a more supportive discussion of the disease,” says Harold P. Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association. Everyone can have an impact. A white ribbon symbolizes lung cancer support and awareness.
Lung cancer is the number 1 cancer killer for both men and women in the U.S. 1 in 15 Americans will be diagnosed with this disease in their lifetime. This disease accounts for about 27 percent of all cancer deaths. People who smoke have the greatest risk. But this cancer also occurs in people who never smoked and in those who never had prolonged exposure to secondhand smoke. We are unsure of the cause. Lung cancer is a complicated disease. There are a few types of lung cancers. All of the types often have no symptoms until it has spread or metastasized. Some symptoms are like those of other common illnesses.
- Blood in sputum (hemoptysis)
- Shortness of breath (dyspnea)
- Pain in the chest
If you have signs and symptoms that worry you, start by seeing your family doctor. If your doctor suspects you have lung cancer, you’ll likely be referred to a specialist. Several organizations recommend people with an increased risk should consider annual computerized tomography (CT) scans to look for lung cancer. If you’re 55 or older and smoke or used to smoke, talk with your doctor about lung cancer screening.