: Lung Cancer Awareness
Lung Cancer Awareness Month: It's Not Just a Smoker's Disease
This letter is dedicated to former Daily Herald reporter Tony Gordon
and the thousands of future victims of lung cancer. November is Lung
Cancer Awareness Month. It's time to get educated about the No. 1
cancer killer in the United States.
Lung cancer kills 157,000 people annually -- more than breast,
colon, and prostate cancers combined. And yet, research funding for
lung cancer has drastically trailed compared to funding for others.
As a result, only 16 percent of lung cancer patients survive five
years after diagnosis and even less survive beyond that.
It's imperative that people recognize lung cancer as a risk to
anyone, not just smokers. Because lung cancer is usually detected in
late stages, it's almost always a death sentence, but it doesn't
have to be if you are aware of lung cancer, its symptoms, and if you
forget the notion you are excluded for risk because you never
I can tell you firsthand, having lost several close family
members to lung cancer that it doesn't matter if you never smoked or
quit so long ago you think you have long beat the odds. People with
an increased risk of lung cancer include anyone with exposure to
radon, asbestos, air pollution, first- and second-hand smoke,
industrial chemicals, use of beta-carotene supplements, old age, and
anyone with a family history of lung cancer.
Occupations most at risk because of exposure to toxins include
hair dressers and barbers, miners, mechanics, iron and steel
workers, production of art glass, glass containers, and pressed
ware; rubber industry, painters, foundry workers, and military
Recognize the most common symptoms including a persistent cough,
blood in sputum, shortness of breath, wheezing, pain in the chest or
back between the shoulder blades, fatigue, pneumonia, hoarseness,
difficulty or pain in swallowing.
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