Over 20 years ago, the Lung Cancer Alliance launched Lung Cancer Awareness Day (LCAD) in the United States, to raise awareness and recognition of the typical symptoms of lung cancer, which included a persistent cough, fatigue and loss of appetite. Any patient with these symptoms should approach physician or oncologist.
As per WHO, lung cancer affects nearly 2 million people every year, in India it affects 1 lakh people every year. About 10% cancer cases occur in the lungs where as 20% of cancer deaths occur due to lung cancer.
It is a common misconception among general public that lung cancer is only a smokers’ disease. On the contrary, over half of those diagnosed are former smokers or people who have never smoked. This misconception has been linked to poor outcomes, due to factors such as delay in seeking treatment, disease-related distress, reduced social support and lower quality of care, hence awareness will help patients to seek medical attention early and help in diagnosing early and improving cure rates and survival rates.
As far as prevention is concerned quitting smoking is most effective strategy available as of now.
About 10% of lung cancers in USA are due to exposure to indoor radon (released from rocks and soil, which is odourless, colourless) gas exposure. However no data is available regarding this risk factor in Indian lung cancer patients.
Screening for lung cancer is only done for high risk individuals (more than 30 pack years of smoking of age 55-80 years) with LDCT (low dose CT scan chest, which has less radiation exposure compared to conventional CT).
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Lung Cancer Awareness Month
November is officially the Lung Cancer Awareness Month. The old adage ‘More Research, More Survivors’ holds good. This November let’s put in our efforts to raise awareness of the need for more research and better community awareness about Lung Cancer. Few ways in which you too can contribute to the cause are:
- Wear White During Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Pearl or white is the color of the Lung Cancer Awareness ribbon. You can be creative in so many ways. Paint your nails white, wear a ribbon or wear a white shirt and pearls for this November month.
- Do share a photo of your “wearing of the white” on your Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and can use the hashtags #livingwithlungcancer #lungcancerresearch or innovate some of your own.
- Share a Living with Cancer Story of someone you know of: Lung cancer survivors are a very small and special group. They might have been diagnosed at different stages and ages but the fight and survival that runs through each of them is a hope for many.
- Share some revealing Lung Cancer Research: Lung cancer has bee a lead focus in many new areas of research. More so in the past decade many new breakthrough technologies have been developed to aid the early detection and treatment of lung cancer. We can share some of these for the benefit of other.
- Constant Research & Development is key to Nations progress & prosperity: More funding for research is needed. In whatever capacity you may be, advocate for more research. Donate for more research, if you are able to. Don’t forget that if you have lungs, you too are at risk of lung cancer.
Dr. Arun Kumar Lingutla
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