What is National Lung Cancer Month?
November has been designated as Lung Cancer Awareness Month. During the entire month of November, community members, medical professionals, and health care organizations come together to bring a greater level of awareness to lung cancer. National Lung Cancer Month was originally started in 1995, but it was only one day out of the month. As the movement continued to grow, that one day transformed into an entire month. There are basically two types of lung cancer: small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer, with non-small cell lung cancer being the most common (85 percent). Small cell lung cancer accounts for the other 15 percent of lung cancers and is generally diagnosed among those who smoke or have smoked in the past.
Why is National Lung Cancer Month Important?
National Lung Cancer Month is important because lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths for both men and women across the nation. More than 225,000 people were diagnosed with lung cancer in 2015, a number which continues to increase. Unlike many other types of cancer, there is an overall lack of knowledge about lung cancer, both among patients as well as their physicians. National Lung Cancer Month seeks to educate, filling the void left by a lack of information, as well as inspiring hope. The goal is to achieve better results for those diagnosed with lung cancer and to give patients, their families, and physicians the knowledge they need for the best outcome possible.
How Does National Lung Cancer Month Relate to Mesothelioma?
Despite the name, National Lung Cancer Awareness Month also emphasizes other cancers that can affect the respiratory system, such as mesothelioma. When those diagnosed with mesothelioma, as well as their loved ones, can better understand the disease, the results are better for all those involved. Pleural mesothelioma is caused by the inhalation of airborne asbestos fibers. The fibers then lodge in the chest lining, and over the years, these tiny fibers irritate the tissues, leading to mesothelioma.
The treatment for pleural mesothelioma is similar to the treatment for lung cancer. Since mesothelioma can take many years—even decades—to develop, many cases are not discovered until the mesothelioma is very advanced. The key to an increased life expectancy among those diagnosed with mesothelioma is early detection. National Lung Cancer Awareness Month seeks to make an impact on both the quality of life and the survival rate among those diagnosed with lung cancer or mesothelioma.
Identifying Symptoms of Mesothelioma
Pleural mesothelioma has many of the same symptoms as lung cancer, including chest pain, shortness of breath, a dry cough, weight loss, and a buildup of fluid in the lung cavity. Those with lung cancer—and possibly those with mesothelioma as well—may also experience a change in color or volume of mucus, coughing up blood or mucus, harsh sounds with each breath, chronic fatigue, headaches, neurological symptoms or general weakness. As noted, these symptoms often do not present until the mesothelioma or lung cancer is in its later stages.
Caring for a Loved One Diagnosed with Mesothelioma
Caring for a loved one with mesothelioma can be overwhelming, therefore, it is extremely important that caregivers maintain their own mental health while helping a loved one manage the disease. There is currently no “cure” for mesothelioma, although some patients exceed their prognosis, living two, three, even five years beyond the prognosis. Like lung cancer patients, mesothelioma patients may undergo radiation, chemotherapy, surgery, immunotherapy, and other forms of targeted therapy. Some alternative medicines are being used to help improve the quality of life. Caregivers should do the following:
- Help monitor the health of your loved one by communicating regularly with his or her doctor;
- Provide emotional support in the form of companionship, understanding there will be good days and bad days;
- Provide patience and compassion regularly;
- Join a support group;
- Help make treatment decisions, and
- Explore alternative medicines and complementary medicines.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with lung cancer you need an experienced Louisiana attorney to help you understand your rights.
The attorneys at Landry & Swarr understand the relationship between lung cancer and asbestos and can help you determine what your rights may be. Our experience handling challenging and complex asbestos-related litigation is critical for success in these cases where the causes and outcomes are not always clear.
We have extensive experience in lung cancer and asbestos law and have been serving the needs of Louisiana families since 1999. If you would like a no-obligation consultation with one of our staff please contact us today. You can reach us by telephone at 504-299-1214 or come by our offices at 1100 Poydras St. Energy Centre – Suite 2000 New Orleans, LA 70163.