November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month so I'm doing my part to help spread the word about causes, symptoms or warning signs, treatments, prevention, and research.
Lung Cancer Facts
Lung cancer kills more people every year than breast, prostate, colon, and pancreatic cancer combined. In fact one in every three cancer deaths is due to lung cancer. Lung cancer doesn't discriminate between ethnic groups and there is no particular ethnic group that is more affected by lung cancer than another.
Lung cancer kills more than three times as many men as prostate cancer, and almost two times as many women as breast cancer. Lung cancer kills an average of 437 people every day.
Surprisingly, over 60% of new cases are never smokers or smokers who quit decades before they are diagnosed.
Who is at Risk for Lung Cancer
Nearly 87% of all lung cancer diagnoses are caused by smoking. The longer a person smokes and how many tobacco products they smoke per day increases the right of developing lung cancer. As we've seen above, smokers who quit are still at risk for developing lung cancer.
Exposure to radon and asbestos can also lead to development of lung cancer. Even scarring from certain types of pneumonia can leave lungs susceptible to development of cancer cells.
Even a generally healthy person - one who has never smoked, or been exposed to radon or asbestos, or has had pneumonia - can get lung cancer. So far there is no sure-fire way of preventing it or predicting who will get it.
Symptoms or Signs of Lung Cancer
The kinds and severity of symptoms varies depending on the type, location, and size of the particular cancer tumor. There are many cases where patients haven't experienced any symptoms at all until the later stages of the cancer.
When symptoms appear they can include, but are not limited to:
shortness of breath
pain in the chest, shoulder, upper back, or arm
coughing up blood
recurring bouts of pneumonia or bronchitis
loss of appetite and weight loss