August 1st is World Lung Cancer Day and we’re spreading awareness about what life is really like for those living with lung cancer. Despite the staggering number of people who are diagnosed with lung cancer each year, there is confusion and lack of awareness. For World Lung Cancer Day 2017, we’re sharing 17 important facts about lung cancer.
We will be sharing these facts and more on Twitter throughout the day using the hashtag #WorldLungCancerDay. To help spread awareness, please feel free to like, share, retweet, and/or comment on any or all of these facts!
Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer-related death in the United States. More people die from lung cancer each year than from colon cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer combined.1
But, lung cancer-related deaths are on the decline! Lung cancer death rates have been falling on average 2.5% each year, and the 5-year survival rate has increased.2
In 2017 there will be an estimated 222,500 new cases of lung cancer (13.2% of all new cancers) and 155,870 deaths from lung cancer (25.9% of all cancer deaths).2
Despite these devastating statistics, lung cancer research only receives 6% of the federal government’s money spent on cancer research. In 2015, $349 million was spent on lung cancer research, as compared to $674 million on breast cancer research.3
Cancer fatigue is not like regular fatigue. Fatigue is a common symptom of lung cancer and can often be a side effect of treatment. This fatigue can be one of the most debilitating symptoms and can sometimes be harder to treat than other symptoms, like pain and nausea.
New treatment options, such as targeted therapy and immunotherapy, are changing the way lung cancer is treated. Researchers have made great strides in developing new, promising treatments. These are occasionally used in combination with other treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, or on their own.
Researchers have identified several genetic mutations related to lung cancer. These mutations play a large role in how lung cancer develops and progresses, but allow doctors to create a more personalized treatment plan.5
Comprehensive tumor testing can capture actionable mutations, as well as those that do not yet have an approved treatment but are being studied in clinical trials. This testing provides a picture of the unique differences in each lung cancer.
“Scanxiety” is a term used to describe the fear and worry associated with imaging, both before and after a scan or test. Research has confirmed what people have known for years… scanxiety is very real!6
Clinical trials can provide excellent care and may be a great option for people with lung cancer. These trials can allow patients access to the most current cancer treatments, all while helping to further research and help future patients.
Smokers and former smokers are not the only people affected by lung cancer. Each year, thousands of non-smokers are diagnosed. While smoking is the greatest risk factor for developing lung cancer, it is important to recognize that ANYONE can get lung cancer!
Despite the fact that anyone can get lung cancer, there is a great stigma associated with lung cancer. Raising awareness about lung cancer can help dispel myths and hopefully break the stigma!
Lung cancer screening can help to diagnose people before they may notice symptoms. Screening is recommended for high risk groups of people. If you have risk factors for developing lung cancer, talk to your doctor about screening.7
Screening can save lives! The earlier lung cancer is caught, the better chance a person has of survival. For early stage, localized lung cancer, the five-year survival rate is 55.6%, as compared to the overall five-year survival rate of 18.1%.2
Social media is a great way for people in the lung cancer community to connect and learn! Many people with lung cancer are active on Facebook and Twitter.
There is so much more to lung cancer than the facts on this list, but sharing information about lung cancer and the impact that it has on a person’s life is critical to the effort in spreading awareness.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed online on 8/1/16 at http://www.cdc.gov/
SEER Cancer Statistics Factsheets: Lung and Bronchus Cancer. National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD. Accessed online on 7/31/17 at http://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/lungb.html.
Estimates of Funding for Various Research, Condition, and Disease Categories (RCDC). National Institutes of Health website. https://report.nih.gov/categorical_spending.aspx. Table Published: February 10, 2016
Beckles MA, Spiro SG, Colice GL, Rudd RM. Initial evaluation of the patient with lung cancer. Chest 2003;123:97S-104S.
National Cancer Institute. Accessed online on 8/1/16 at http://www.cancer.gov/
Mulcahy, Nick. “Cancer ‘scanxiety’ is a real (terrifying) thing.” Medscape. 10 Feb 2017. Available from: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/875634?
NCCN Guidelines for Patients. Lung Cancer Screening. Version Accessed online on 8/31/16 at https://www.nccn.org/patients/guidelines/lung_screening/.