Lung Cancer Awareness Month
It’s November and Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Time to raise awareness for lung cancer. It is time to highlight our need for more funding and more research. Also, a time to just be heard.
Let's talk about the statistics
First is knowing the statistics and sharing with others. This is from the American Cancer Society, "Estimates for lung cancer in the United States for 2022 are about 236,740 new cases of lung cancer (117,910 in men and 118,830 in women) and about 130,180 deaths from lung cancer (68,820 in men and 61,360 in women)."1
This means that lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer death and makes up nearly 25% of all cancer deaths. The reality is that more people die of lung cancer each year than those who die from colon, breast, and prostate cancers together.
All it takes is having lungs
Understanding and educating others that it isn’t a smoker's disease. People need to know that anyone with lungs can get lung cancer. The smoking stigma has played a role in hurting funding. Things to know about causes of lung cancer is a family history of lung cancer can be a factor. I know studies have shown a family history of lung cancer puts you at higher risk for developing cancer.
Secondhand smoke, asbestos, and radon are also linked to lung cancer. By the way, you can get a home radon test kit at a reasonable price at your local hardware store.
Another is pollution and arsenic, things you don’t even think of. I am now more aware of the cleaners I use around the house and how pollution can take a heavy toll on our health. To help with early detection people need to be educated that lung cancer isn’t just a smoker's disease.
White ribbons for lung cancer
Wear a lung cancer awareness shirt if you have one to be a conversation started, also wearing pearls is something I love to do. When someone compliments my necklace, it opens up the opportunity for me to tell why I wear pearls. you can just wear white, after all, white is our lung cancer ribbon color.
Share your story
Now, my favorite for bringing awareness to lung cancer...your story! There is nothing more powerful than sharing your lung cancer journey with others. The treatments you’ve endured, the highs and lows. Did you change your eating habits, and exercise routine? What has lung cancer changed in your life?
For me, lung cancer has given me a new family in the lung cancer community. It has opened my eyes to living for today and enjoying each day. One of the first things after my diagnosis I did was I went zip lining, yes at 55! I went on my first cruise a couple of years later. I went horseback riding. It took a stage IV diagnosis to wake me up and truly learn to love and live.
So, whatever your story is tell it. Reading other people's stories about their journeys gave me hope and encouragement to help others as well. You may never know how many people it will help.
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