Five Facts to Know About Lung Cancer
November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, and along with organizations such as the American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society, PIH Health is committed to helping you understand the facts surrounding lung cancer.
Here are a few things you should to know:
- One in fourteen Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer. Lung cancer is the deadliest cancer – it accounts for about 27 percent of all cancer-related deaths – killing more than 160,000 Americans each year. That’s more than the deaths caused by breast, prostate, pancreatic and colon cancers combined, according to the American Cancer Society.
- Lung cancer doesn’t only affect smokers. Many people with lung cancer have never smoked. About 70 percent of lung cancer is related to smoking, while 30 percent is caused by other factors such as second hand smoke, radon, asbestos, diesel exhaust and air pollution.
- Each year, more and more men are diagnosed with lung cancer. And it’s not just one type of cancer that attacks the lungs—there are many types of lung cancers that are based upon genetics and underlying abnormalities. It’s important to get those annual wellness check-ups to catch anything underlying.
- Lung cancer’s five-year survival rate is just 16 percent, compared with a 99 percent five-year survival rate for prostate cancer patients and an 89 percent five-year survival rate for breast cancer patients. In fact, 68 percent of Stage Four cancer patients who never receive cancer care are lung cancer patients, according to the American Cancer Society.
In light of these facts, there is hope. There are now more advanced methods for early detection and screening for lung cancer.
“Lung cancer screening is important, especially if you have certain risk factors,” explained Daniel Akhavan MD, a pulmonology specialist with PIH Health Physicians. “Men and women who are between the ages of 55 and 77 and who have a history of smoking or who have quit in the past 15 years should talk to their physician about being screened for lung cancer.”
“If you’ve been exposed long-term to second-hand smoke or environmental pollution, it’s also a good idea to be screened,” Dr. Akhavan suggested.
Early detection of lung cancer is crucial. Seek medical help if you or a loved one experiences any of the following symptoms:
- A cough that doesn’t go away
- Coughing up blood
- Shortness of breath or wheezing
- Exhaustion or weakness
- Back or chest pain
- Significant weight loss
To learn more about lung cancer or lung cancer screening, call 562.789.5449 or visit PIHHealth.org/Lung.