November is National Lung Cancer Awareness Month

  1. November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. As I was researching info for this article, I came across some info I didn't know....

    November is National Lung Cancer Awareness Month

    From Cancer Treatment Centers of America:

    WHAT: In recognition of Lung Cancer Awareness Month this November, Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), is partnering with the American Lung Association to educate people that the #1 Cancer killer is Not What You Think.

    WHY: Lung cancer is misunderstood:

    Myth: Lung cancer rates are trending down for everyone.
    Fact: While rates of lung cancer among men have fallen in the last 41 years, the rate of women dying from lung cancer has increased 87%. According to the American Lung Association, however, only 3% of women consider lung cancer a top-of-mind cancer concern.

    "In the United States, lung cancer is now the leading cancer killer of women, having surpassed breast cancer in 1987. Almost twice as many women in the United States are expected to die from lung cancer compared with breast cancer in 2018 (approximately 70,000 versus 41,000)". Several large randomized studies concluded that women who take estrogen plus progesterone as part of menopausal hormone replacement therapy (HRT) have an increased risk of lung cancer.

    "The prospective Vitamins and Lifestyle (VITAL) Study followed a cohort of over 36,000 peri- and postmenopausal women during six years of follow-up. After adjusting for smoking and other confounding factors, the risk of incident lung cancer was increased for those who used an estrogen plus progestin. The risk was proportional to duration of hormone exposure (HR 1.48, 95% CI 1.03-2.12 for those with ≥10 years exposure to an estrogen plus progestin)."

    Myth
    : Everyone who gets lung cancer is a smoker.
    Fact: Radon - a colorless, odorless gas which is quite common in households that aren't well ventilated - is the second-leading cause (after smoking) of lung cancer in the U.S. It's estimated that 1 in 13 homes have unsafe levels of radon gas. According to the American Lung Association, exposure to secondhand smoke, radon, and air pollution are also known causes of lung cancer, and sometimes there is no known cause of lung cancer.

    At this time, smoking is considered the only reason for routine screening, though there are other risk factors associated with increased risk of lung cancer also:
    • Radon exposure
    • Radiation exposure
    • Work-related chemical exposure
    • Family history
    • And, possibly diet though much research is still needed in this area

    Myth: There is no screening for lung cancer
    Fact: There is a newly available lung cancer screening for those considered at high risk for the disease. Screening leads to early detection of the disease, when there are more treatment options and the disease is most curable.

    The low-dose CT is considered for people at higher risk of developing lung cancer. At this time, the criteria for this screening test is:

    The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends yearly lung cancer screening with LDCT for people who-
    • Have a history of heavy smoking, and
    • Smoke now or have quit within the past 15 years, and
    • Are between 55 and 80 years old

    Myth: Breast cancer kills more people than any other kind of cancer.
    Fact: The average 5-year survival for lung cancer is among the lowest of all types of cancer. In fact, lung cancer is the leading cancer killer, killing more people than colon, breast and prostate cancers combined.

    Many agencies including the American Cancer Association, American Lung Association, the CDC and other governmental and private entities are working to eradicate lung cancer. However, more research is needed.

    References:

    Cancer Treatment Centers of America
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    UpToDate
    Vital Study
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    2 Comments

  3. by   Medic/Nurse
    One of my dear friends lived 17 months after diagnosis. She died at 39.

    Her cancer was found when she had an episode of syncope at a reunion and was found to be severely anemic. Other minor complaints in advance were dismissed or attributed to allergy, asthma (which she never had) or bronchitis or the like.

    It was excruciating.

    BTW - her only "risk" factor was that she was a 'casual smoker'. Less than 1 pack per week.

    Left her family, a 20 year old kid with a new grandbaby.

    Heartbreaking.

  4. by   traumaRUs
    So sad and very sorry for your loss. Yes, lung cancer survivorship is not the best. Need much more research

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