Lung cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer, but is the leading cause of death among cancers by three times as many as the second leading killer, breast cancer. What this demonstrates is that not only is lung cancer prevalent, it is also lacking the treatment and research that can help cut the mortality rates.
Preventative measures can certainly help reduce this rate, along with early detection, but that does nothing to help cure those people who are already diagnosed. For National Lung Cancer Awareness Month, the entire month of November is dedicated to raising awareness of this deadly cancer.
The awareness can help tackle lung cancer from both sides of the issue, both for preventative education as well as raising funds for finding a cure.
Incidence and Mortality
As mentioned above, lung cancer is the second most diagnosed cancer behind breast cancer. The incidence rates have declined since their peak in the 1980s, which seemingly follows the shift in ad campaigns and the reduction in sales of cigarettes.
Though the incidence rate is reducing more noticeably through the years (still affecting over 200,000 a year, however) the survival rate has only inched from 15% to 16% in the entire last decade. It now rests at 17%.
Out of the 200,000 diagnosed with lung cancer, almost 160,000 die. This makes lung cancer the leading cause of death among cancers.
Causes and Risk Factors
With the recent shift in ad campaigns and risk awareness for lung cancer, one would think that smoking is its leading cause. As it turns out, 60%-65% of all new diagnoses of lung cancer aren’t current smokers, many of them never having smoked cigarettes before.
While cigarette smoking can be deadly, there are also many other contributing factors to lung cancer’s incidence rate, including second-hand smoke.
Other causes of lung cancer include environmental factors, exposure to radon or asbestos, and pollution. While the research on these connections has helped reduce the presence of harmful products in our immediate environment, they are still a huge influence on the incidence rate.
Lung Cancer Awareness Activities
With the help of different awareness groups—such as Free to Breathe, LUNGevity, and The Lung Cancer Alliance—money is being raised in various venues all over the country for lung cancer. By bringing awareness to the community, and providing the stark numbers in ad campaigns, these nonprofit organizations have helped decrease incidence rates and improve survival rates.
There are activities all throughout the U.S. and you can click here to find activities near you.
Lung Cancer Partnerships and Programs
Various organizations are contributing to this ongoing goal of decreasing the mortality rate for lung cancer patients. The new campaign Every Lung Deserves Hope was launched for November to help flood the community with multi-media campaigns highlighting the research and stories about lung cancer.
LUNGevity is helping this campaign gain momentum as it focuses on social media postings about causes and prevention, and is also an opportunity to help fund research. By partnering up with various organizations such as this, Every Lung Deserves Hope is able to reach a broader audience and make a deeper impact.
One cancer center has helped improve the survival rate by implementing a program that screens for cancer before any reportable symptoms arise. The Cancer Center’s Lung Cancer Screening Clinic has performed more than 650 screenings and has diagnosed cancer in its earliest stages, thus improving the survival rate.
It is programs such as this that highlight the importance of funding the research.
Bringing awareness to this deadly cancer can help change the course of its path. Check out the many grassroot activities by organizations such as LUNGevity for ways to help support the cause.
As lung cancer claims more lives than breast, prostate and colon cancer combined, it is ever important that the research for finding proper treatment can be funded. By raising awareness and participating in these events, it is possible. If you feel you may have been exposed to hazardous materials, you should consult with a qualified physician as soon as possible.