According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women in the United States. It is estimated that more than 236,000 people will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year and about 130,000 will die from the disease. This only shows that there is a need for more awareness about the disease.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with lung cancer, it is important to be as informed as possible about the disease. Here are 10 facts everyone should know about lung cancer:
- Lung cancer is not just a smoker’s disease.
While smoking is the number one risk factor for developing lung cancer, approximately 20 percent of patients diagnosed with the disease have never smoked. There are a number of other factors that can increase your risk, including exposure to radon and other carcinogens, a family history of lung cancer, and a personal history of cancer.
- Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer.
Radon is a gas that is found naturally in the environment. It seeps up from the ground and can enter homes through cracks in the foundation. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers and the second leading cause overall. You can prevent exposure to radon by having your home tested and, if necessary, taking steps to reduce the level of radon.
- Early detection is key.
Lung cancer is often diagnosed at an advanced stage when the disease is more difficult to treat. However, if it is caught early, lung cancer is highly treatable. Symptoms of lung cancer include a cough that does not go away, shortness of breath, chest pain, and coughing up blood. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor right away.
- There are different types of lung cancer.
The two main types of lung cancer are non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC). NSCLC is the most common type of lung cancer, accounting for about 85 percent of all cases. SCLC is less common but more aggressive, and it tends to spread more quickly than NSCLC.
- Treatment options have come a long way.
Thanks to advances in treatment, people with lung cancer now have more options than ever before. Treatment depends on the type of lung cancer, the stage of the disease, and a person’s overall health. Common treatments include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
- Clinical trials are an important option for patients with lung cancer.
Clinical trials are research studies that test new treatments in humans. They offer patients the opportunity to try new therapies that are not yet available to the general public. Clinical trials are an important option for patients with lung cancer, as they can provide access to cutting-edge treatments.
- There is no one “right” way to treat lung cancer.
Treatment for lung cancer is highly individualized. What works for one person may not work for another. It is important to work with a team of specialists who can tailor a treatment plan to your specific situation.
- Side effects are common but manageable.
Side effects are a common occurrence during treatment for lung cancer. However, they are often manageable with the help of a team of medical professionals. Common side effects include fatigue, nausea, pain, and difficulty breathing. So don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
- Support is essential.
A diagnosis of lung cancer can be overwhelming. It is important to have a support system in place to help you through this difficult time. Family and friends can offer practical and emotional support. There are also many support groups available for people with lung cancer and their loved ones.
- You are not alone.
Lung cancer is a very common disease, with more than 200,000 new cases diagnosed each year in the United States. So if you or someone you love has been diagnosed, know that you are not alone. There are many resources available to help you through this journey.
These are just a few of the many facts about lung cancer that everyone should know. For more information, please visit the American Lung Association website at www.lung.org