November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month and I’m hoping that this article will get you up to date on the most recent information about lung cancer and what you can do about it!
Symptoms of Lung Cancer
While early lung cancer often does not cause symptoms, it is important to know the signs. Common symptoms may include:
- a cough that gets worse or does not go away
- breathing trouble, such as shortness of breath
- constant chest pain
- coughing up blood
- a hoarse voice
- frequent lung infections, such as pneumonia
- feeling very tired all the time
- weight loss with no known cause
Causes of Lung Cancer
Of course, we don’t know for sure what causes cancer in any one person. If we knew that, I would be out of a job and happy about it! However there are things that can increase risk for lung cancer and they include:
- Tobacco smoke: Smoking cigarettes, pipes, or cigars can cause lung cancer and secondhand smoke can cause lung cancer in nonsmokers.
- Radon: Radon is a radioactive gas that you cannot see, smell, or taste. It forms in soil and rocks.
- Asbestos and other substances: People who have certain jobs (such as those who work in the construction and chemical industries) have an increased risk of lung cancer.
- Air pollution: Air pollution may slightly increase the risk of lung cancer.
- Family history of lung cancer: People with a father, mother, brother, or sister who had lung cancer may be at slightly increased risk of the disease, even if they don’t smoke.
- Age over 65: Most people are older than 65 years when diagnosed with lung cancer.
What Can You do About Lung Cancer?
1. Show compassion to people diagnosed with Lung Cancer. I know it’s instinct to try to figure out why or how someone gets sick. However, when you ask whether someone with lung cancer smoked or not, they don’t feel compassion, they feel blame. My first tip is for you to avoid asking someone or their loved one if they smoked. Once they’re diagnosed, it really doesn’t matter. They just need your care and compassion.
2. Advocate for Lung Cancer. Make sure your friends and family know that facts on lung cancer.
3. Support a Free to Breathe 5k for Lung Cancer. You can walk, run, be a virtual runner, or support a participant. Whatever you do, be a part of the movement. I’ll be there on Nov. 15th in Greensboro and I hope to see you there!