August 1st is World Lung Cancer Day, an important day to raise awareness about a disease that affects the hospice and palliative care community significantly.

Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers and kills more people yearly than colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined. The American Lung Association estimates that lung cancer accounts for one in five deaths worldwide.

Prevention is Key

As with most cancers, prevention and early detection are the keys to survival. The good news is that you can be screened for lung cancer pretty easily if you meet the following criteria:

  • You are between the age of 55 and 80
  • You smoke(d) one pack of cigarettes daily for over 30 years
  • You smoke(d) two packs of cigarettes daily for 15 years
  • You quit smoking within the past 15 years

Causes of Lung Cancer

The primary causes of lung cancer are smoking tobacco and secondhand smoke exposure. Other risk factors include:

  • Family history
  • Radiation therapy
  • Exposure to radon and asbestos
  • Exposure to other carcinogens  

What Are the Symptoms of Lung Cancer?

Lung cancer symptoms often don’t appear until the cancer has progressed. You should be aware of the following symptoms:

  • Coughing up blood
  • Chest pain
  • Long-lasting cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Headache
  • Bone pain
  • Sudden weight loss

Lung Cancer Prevention

There is no guaranteed method to prevent lung cancer. But there are a few things you can do to limit your risk, such as:

  • Don’t start smoking or quit immediately.
  • Avoid secondhand smoke.
  • Avoid carcinogens at work by wearing appropriate safety gear.
  • Test your home for radon regularly.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Maintain a healthy weight and a balanced diet. 

Contact us today if you’d like to learn more about how hospice care helps lung cancer patients.