It’s been 20 years since the first Lung Cancer Awareness Day in 1995. As the community grew, the movement expanded into an entire month, which we now celebrate throughout the entire month of November. While the lung cancer rate has been dropping among men over the past two decades, it has just recently begun to drop in women. One in 15 Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer in their lifetime.
Though the community is very active during this month; people make videos and post on social media, tributes are given, stories are shared, events and fundraisers are held, it is important to remember that lung cancer is a disease that affects people year round. Being informed is the first step in fighting the disease.
Here are five facts about lung cancer you should know:
1. Lung cancer symptoms to look for are coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing, bloody sputum and chest pains. If you have any of these, see a physician.
2. If lung cancer is not detected before it spreads, only 17% have a survival rate beyond five years. However, if it is detected earlier on, that survival rate improves dramatically. Detection is key.
3. In 2015, according to estimations, over 73,000 women will die from lung cancer. Women die at earlier ages from lung cancer than men and the number of female lung cancer deaths is increasing.
4. One out of five people with lung cancer never smoked in their lifetime. These people are called never-smokers and 45,000 are diagnosed with lung cancer per year. Despite this, smoking is the primary cause of lung cancer and not smoking or quitting is the best prevention and treatment.
5. Lung cancer kills more people than all other cancers combined (breast, pancreatic, prostate, colorectal, pancreatic), accounting for about 27% of all cancer deaths.