Today, August 1, is World Lung Cancer Day. In honor of the people across the globe living with lung cancer, we asked some members of our community to explain what they want people to know about lung cancer.
Anyone can get lung cancer.
“It does not discriminate. Anyone can get lung cancer.”
Fact: One in 16 people in the US will be diagnosed with lung cancer in their lifetime.
Lung cancer is not always the result of smoking.
“You don't have to smoke to get lung cancer!"
Fact: Smoking isn’t the only cause of lung cancer. Among other known causes are exposure to secondhand smoke, radon, and other substances (including asbestos, arsenic, diesel exhaust, and some forms of silica and chromium); personal or family history of lung cancer; and radiation therapy to the chest.
No one deserves lung cancer.
“Stop asking me if I smoked; it is irrelevant. Do you ask the diabetic if they ate too many carbs? The question of smoking has blame.”
Fact: 60% to 65% of all new lung cancer diagnoses are among people who have never smoked or are former smokers.
Lung cancer needs more funding.
“Lung cancer is underfunded in comparison to breast cancer, yet more people die of lung cancer than breast cancer... It's the stigma of lung cancer that needs to be changed. Perhaps then we may get more funding for research.”
Fact: Only 6% of federal government dollars spent on cancer research are spent on lung cancer research.
Lung cancer is best treated when diagnosed early.
“If you’re out of breath more than usual for a while, or have a cough that doesn’t get better, or you’re having trouble breathing, get it checked out sooner, rather than later. They say that you won’t have symptoms until it’s already spread.”
Fact: Only 16% of people will be diagnosed in the earliest stage, when the disease is most treatable. If lung cancer is caught before it spreads, the likelihood of surviving five years or more improves from 19% to 57%.
There is hope.
“Early diagnosis has cures, and late diagnosis has treatments. It is not an automatic death sentence.”
Fact: Since the peak death rate for men in 1990, the death rate for men has fallen 48%. Since the peak death rate for women in 2002, the death rate for women has fallen 23%.
Progress is being made.
“There are a lot of emerging treatments."
Fact: More lung cancer treatments have been approved by the FDA in the last three years than in the last three decades.
Today, many people are living with lung cancer. Learn the facts at Lung Cancer 101.