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Lung Cancer Awareness Month

Each November, it’s important to take time to remember those impacted by lung cancer. In 2023, the American Cancer Society estimated that there will be about 238,340 new cases of lung cancer diagnosed, with about 127,070 deaths from lung cancer.

Those statistics may look daunting, but on a positive note, the number of new lung cancer cases continues to decrease because more people are quitting smoking, or not starting at all. With advances in technology for early detection and treatment, along with fewer people smoking, the number of deaths from lung cancer is also decreasing.

How to lower your risk:

  • Quit smoking – this includes marijuana, e-cigarettes or vaping
  • Avoid exposure to secondhand smoke
  • Monitor your exposure to radon gas
    • Purchase a radon test kit at most home improvement stores
  • Monitor exposure to asbestos and other environmental factors, such as arsenic, beryllium or air pollution from vehicle and diesel exhaust

Risk factors you cannot control:

  • Age – average age at diagnosis is 70
  • Previous radiation treatment to the lungs
  • Personal or family history of lung cancer
  • Air pollution
  • Other health-related issues, such as emphysema or chronic bronchitis

Lung Cancer Screening

Lung cancer screening with a low-dose CT scan before symptoms become evident is the only proven method of detecting lung cancer at its earliest stage, when it is most treatable and curable. Screenings are covered by most private and commercial insurance plans, and financial assistance is available for those who qualify. If you think you would be a good candidate for lung cancer screening, talk with your healthcare provider.

Lung Cancer Screening Guidelines:

  • Age 50-80
  • History of smoking 1 pack per day for 20 years, or 2 packs per day for 10 years
  • Doctor’s referral is required

To find out if you qualify, or for questions about financial assistance, call 740-687-8134. For general lung cancer questions, call Holly Griffith, oncology nurse navigator, at 740-689-6889.

Source: American Cancer Society

Article originally published November 2023.