NOVEMBER is lung cancer awareness month, when people displaying the common symptoms of lung cancer — such as a persistent cough, breathlessness or unexplained weight loss — are encouraged to visit their doctors.
Lung cancer is estimated to be the cause of nearly one in five deaths (1.59 million deaths, 19.4 per cent of the total) worldwide.
Usually more attention is paid to other types of cancers such as breast, rather than lung, which could be due to the negative connotations surrounding the use of tobacco and its role in developing the disease.
But even though the majority of lung cancer cases are linked to smoking or exposure to tobacco smoke, many of the victims of lung cancer have never smoked or been exposed to a significant amount of second-hand smoke. Some causes are hereditary, or due to the inhalation of radon gas, air pollution, or exposure to asbestos.
When cancer ignites in the lungs it is one of the most deadly, and in many cases, patients do not experience any symptoms until the cancer has extended to large sections of the lungs or even to other parts of the body. This rapid growth, combined with the cancer’s notorious resistance to chemotherapy, makes efforts to promote awareness and continued research even more important.
Therefore, let us all join in the fight against lung cancer this November by encouraging our friends who smoke to give up the habit, while reminding others to pay attention to their family history and environment.