Today, November 2, 2009, is Lung Cancer Awareness day and the beginning of Lung Cancer Awareness Week. It is also probably one of the most difficult post that I’ve written as my father-in-law passed away in April approximately one month after being diagnosed. He thought he had cough from a cold that would go away and did not follow through with a suspecious chest xray taken a few years before. Yes, he was a smoker who had quit almost four decades prior. I have also watched many of my former clients slowly die from this disease. Due to my respiratory problems this year, I know how scary it feels to not be able to breathe.
Approximately, 50-60% of non smokers comprise those diagnosed with lung cancer. This figure includes people who receive second-hand smoke, smoker who have quit for decades and those who have the disease for unknown reasons. Lung cancer does not discriminate. People are young, older, poor, rich, of different races, different genders, different occupations, in good health or in poor health. However, your risk does increase if your sexual partner smokes.
Lung Cancer Awareness Month is a national campaign dedicated to increasing attention to lung cancer issues. By organizing rallies, distributing educational material, holding fund-raising events, contacting Congress, and speaking to the media, those involved in LCAM bring much-needed support and attention to a disease that each year kills more people than breast, prostate, colon and pancreas cancers combined. Worldwide it kills approximately 1.4 million deaths per year. Even with treatment the five-year survival rate is 14% per year.
Suggestions for prevention of lung cancer include don’t start smoking, stop smoking NOW, avoid second-hand smoke, test your home for radon, avoid carcinogens at work, eat a diet full of fruits and vegetables, don’t drink or if you you do drink in moderation, and exercise. Smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer. In the United States, it estimated that 90% of men and 85% of women are or were smokers. The number of years and the number of cigarettes also impacts the the risk of developing lung cancer. Join the Great American Smoke out on November 19, 2009.
The American Cancer Society holds the Great American Smokeout® every year on the third Thursday in November. This year the Great American Smokeout® will take place on November 19, 2009. The purpose of the event is to set aside a day to help smokers quit smoking, quit using tobacco products, for at least one day, with the hope that they will quit completely. Not only does the event challenge people to stop using tobacco, it helps to raise awareness about the dangers of smoking and the many effective ways available to quit smoking permanently.
Research shows that smokers are most successful in kicking the habit when they have some means of support, such as nicotine replacement products, counseling, prescription medicine to lessen cravings, guide books, and the encouragement of friends and family members.
People who have lung cancer and those around them are inspirational people as they struggle from the disease. Some often beat it via surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. However, many do not heed the warning signs which include a new cough that doen’t go away, chronic cough, coughing up, shortness of breath, chest pain, wheezing and hoarseness. Don’t ignore these symptoms, it just may save your life or someone elses.