November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among men and women in the United States, and 80 to 90 percent are attributed to cigarette smoking (CDC). The other 10 to 20 percent are due to other causes. Anyone can develop lung cancer, even those who have never smoked. Are you at risk?
Cigarette smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer. For former smokers, lung cancer risk is greatly reduced but not eliminated. People exposed to second-hand smoke, or who smoke pipes and cigars, are also at greater risk than nonsmokers.
Exposure to radon gas is the second-leading cause of lung cancer. It is a colorless, odorless radioactive gas that enters homes and buildings through the ground.
Exposure to asbestos, arsenic, uranium, cadmium, chromium, nickel and even some petroleum products can increase your risk.
Pollution from nearby manufacturing, fuel-burning electric utilities, and busy highways are just some of the sources of pollution that can increase risk.
Family history of lung cancer could mean you are at a greater risk of developing lung cancer yourself.
Check-in with Your Lung Health
The discovery of lung cancer in its earliest stages is often accidental, a result of tests performed for other health reasons before a patient experiences symptoms of lung cancer. If you are experiencing more than one of the following symptoms, take action. Occurring together, these can be symptoms of lung cancer in later stages.
This cough has persisted for more than 8 weeks, won’t go away, or even worsens.
Excess lung congestion has lasted for more than a month. If the mucus is rust-colored or blood is present, see a doctor immediately.
Shortness of Breath
Struggling to catch your breath while at rest or after completing exercise is not a normal sign of aging, but a sign that something is wrong in the respiratory system.
Changes in your voice, sounding hoarse, raspy, or high-pitched could be a symptom of cancer affecting the nerve of the vocal cords.
Chronic chest pain
Chest pain has lasted a month or longer and worsens when laughing, coughing or taking a deep breath could indicate blockages in the lungs, enlarged lymph nodes, or excess fluid.
Low-CT Lung Cancer Screening
Because fewer than one in seven lung cancer cases are detected in the disease’s earliest stage when it is most treatable, insurance plans now cover Low-CT Lung Cancer Screening for patients who qualify. If you are over the age of 50 and have no symptoms, but you are at risk for lung cancer due to a history of smoking or other factors, we can help you determine if a Low-CT Lung Cancer Screening is right for you.
To schedule, call 307.857.3463.
Are You Ready to Quit Smoking?
Quitting smoking has immediate and long-term health benefits. Today is always a good day to quit, but you’ll be more successful with a plan in place to manage everyday stress and nicotine cravings, in addition to a support system of friends and loved ones (even your medical provider) who know you’re trying to quit. Visit SmokeFree.gov for more information.