November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, the leading cause of cancer death in the United States.
During this month there is a global effort to reduce the stigma for a disease that affects both smokers and non-smokers and takes more lives annually than breast, prostate, colon and pancreatic cancers combined.
Lung cancer affects everyone that it touches, from individuals battling the disease to families who help care for them.
My grandmother was diagnosed with lung cancer just this year and is currently battling stage four lung cancer at the age of 68. She stopped smoking 40 years ago at the age of 27. She, like many others, carries a genetic marker predisposing her to lung cancer. This means even if you have never smoked a day in your life you can still get it.
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In recent years it has been shown that a low-dose CT scan can help detect lung cancer and lower the risk of dying from this disease. Nearly 80 percent of those diagnosed will have never smoked or are former smokers. Lung cancer takes the lives of three times as many men as prostate cancer and twice as many women as breast cancer.
It has a 15 percent, five-year survival rate that needs to change. It will take a moment this month to think about everyone in our community — survivors, caregivers, family and friends — who all have a lung cancer story to tell. This disease deserves our attention and they deserve our support.