According to the American Lung Association, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in adult men and women in the US. Each year it is estimated that over 200 thousand people are diagnosed with this disease, with approximately 70 percent fatalities. November is designated as Lung Cancer Awareness Month, and serves to educate people on the symptoms and treatments of this terrible illness which effects not only those diagnosed, but their friends and family.
Patients suffering lung cancer experience a malignant tumor in the lungs that, if left untreated, destroy healthy lung tissue and make it difficult to breathe and function properly. Early symptoms may include a nagging cough and constant chest pain, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, and diagnosis of related lung ailments like bronchitis. It is commonly believed that smoking is a major cause of lung cancer, yet it should be noted that non-smokers are not immune to this disease. Genetics, exposure to radon gas, and prolonged exposure to agents known to cause cancer (including asbestos and coal) may also come into play.
During this month of awareness, we encourage you to consider prevention and learn more about lung cancer and what you can do to keep your lungs healthy and clear. Some suggestions include:
- Stop smoking, or get friends/family to quit. No matter how long you or a loved one has smoked, quitting now is an important first step to regaining lung health and breathing easier.
- Enjoy an antioxidant rich diet. Dark berries and vegetables high in these amazing cancer-fighting agents can help boost your immunity.
- Test your home for radon. Especially if you have an older home, it’s important to have it tested for agents that can cause a variety of illnesses. Radon, for one, is invisible, and you may not detect it on your own so easily.
For more information on lung cancer treatment, please visit the Bon Secours Health Library.