If you haven’t already heard, November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. It’s a special event that has fostered a strong community and movement around this illness. This is the time of year to make sure that your lungs are looking healthy.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death for both men and women in the United States. This disease forms in the tissues of the lung — typically the cells lining the airway passages. Here’s the estimated new cases and deaths attributable to lung cancer in the U.S. for 2013:
- New Cases: 228,190
- Deaths: 159,480
Lung Cancer Awareness Month helps promote education and advocacy in an effort to increase early lung screenings and diagnosis.
Symptoms of Lung Cancer
Some people mistake the symptoms of lung cancer as something far less serious, but many cases aren’t confirmed until after the disease has progressed to a more advanced stage. Recognizing the warning signs for lung cancer can make a significant impact on the survival rate.
(Lung Cancer Awareness Fact: You could still be at risk for this disease if you never smoked a cigarette in your life.)
Here are 10 red flags for lung cancer that should not be ignored:
- Developing a chronic cough
- Shortness of breath
- Coughing up blood
- Unusual pain in the chest and back
- Recurrent lung infections
- Unusual pain in the shoulder
- Chronic fatigue
- Unexplained weight loss
- Presence of paraneoplastic syndrome
Get Involved this November
There many ways you can become an advocate for lung cancer awareness in your community any time of the year. Here’s some advice from the Lung Cancer Alliance to get you started:
- Shine a Light on Lung Cancer Vigil: This is the biggest lung cancer awareness event each year, and 2013 is expected to be the best one yet!
- Join Team Lung Love: This is the official endurance training team for the Lung Cancer Alliance. Be prepared to do some serious biking, running, and swimming in support of lung cancer.
- Attend or host your own local event: Find an event near you or consider orchestrating your own this year.
- Contact local leaders: Reach out to your local elected officials this November.
- Obtain a Proclamation: If your state doesn’t honor Lung Cancer Awareness Month yet, you can get your Governor to make an official proclamation. Please contact Kay Cofrancesco, firstname.lastname@example.org, for details.
Many people are supporting groups like the Lung Cancer Alliance and the Lung Cancer Research Foundation in their awareness efforts this year. You might be surprised by the impact your actions could have within your own community.