For more than 20 years, the purpose of Lung Cancer Awareness Month (LCAM) has been to shine a spotlight on all-things lung cancer, a disease named as the second-leading cause of death for Americans. LCAM is more important than ever during 2020, a year when COVID-19 has eclipsed all other public health issues.
In the month ahead, we plan to highlight lung cancer and mesothelioma, a rare and often-deadly form of lung cancer, through a series of informative blog posts. Our goal is to not only spread awareness but to offer meaningful resources that help you make a difference in the lives of lung cancer patients and their families. Although there are many reasons to be hopeful, it is critical to continue sharing knowledge, supporting those affected by the disease, and seeking justice for victims of asbestos lung cancer.
Origins of Lung Cancer Awareness Month
LCAM began as Lung Cancer Awareness Day (LCAD) in November 1997. The first observation of LCAD, according to LungCancer.net, was organized by the Alliance for Lung Cancer Advocacy, Support, and Education to increase awareness of lung cancer symptoms. Three years later, LCAD evolved into LCAM. While traditionally observed in November, LCAM is not formally recognized. Earlier this month, members of the Congressional Lung Cancer Caucus introduced a resolution to change that.
Why Awareness is Needed
Did you know that lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths, both in the United States and worldwide? Each year, lung cancer kills more people than breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer combined. An estimated 1 in 15 people will be diagnosed with lung cancer during their lifetime. Over 60 percent of those diagnosed never smoked, or quit smoking decades ago. Occupational exposures to carcinogens, including asbestos, account for approximately 9 to 15 percent of lung cancer cases.
Awareness about the prevalence, causes, and deadliness of lung cancer can promote early screening, which has been shown to significantly improve outcomes. Learning to recognize typical symptoms of lung cancer, such as a persistent cough, fatigue, and loss of appetite, can also encourage people to seek medical advice sooner. The earlier lung cancer is found, the more likely treatment will be effective. Early detection has been shown to decrease lung cancer mortality by 14 to 20 percent among high-risk populations, reports the American Lung Association. For mesothelioma patients, early diagnosis can greatly increase treatment options.
In addition to improving outcomes, awareness can inspire hope and provide funding for research. A recent STAT analysis found that advances in treatment have led to lung cancer deaths declining quicker than diagnoses of new cases. But sadly, federal funding for lung cancer research lags far behind other common cancers, despite it taking more lives.
How To Get Involved
We can all help make a difference this November. Here are some ways to raise awareness and support those affected by lung cancer:
- Share information on social media: Awareness starts with knowing the facts about lung cancer. Using the hashtags #LungCancer and #LCAM, you can share information on social media such as who’s at risk of lung cancer, how to spot it, and rights and legal options for people with asbestos-related lung cancer.
- Wear the white: White is the color of the Lung Cancer Awareness ribbon. Buy or make a ribbon and wear it during November. You can also show support by using a Lung Cancer Awareness profile picture, cover photo, or custom Facebook frame.
- Donate to lung cancer research: Donate money to a reputable organization that supports lung cancer research. Groups to consider include the Lung Cancer Foundation of America, the GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer, the American Lung Association, LUNGevity, and the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation. You can even start your own fundraiser using Facebook or GoFundMe.
- Spread good news: There have been major discoveries in recent years about lung cancer early detection and treatment. For example, the FDA recently approved a new drug regime to treat pleural mesothelioma. Spread good vibes by spreading good news.
- Volunteer: The American Lung Association and other organizations have plenty of volunteer opportunities. Whether you’re a survivor, a caregiver, or just want to give back, there’s a volunteer opportunity that’s right for you.
- Tell your story: Stories have the power to inspire people and drive change. If lung cancer has touched your life in any way, share your story to give others courage, provide a better understanding of the disease, and raise awareness.
What To Expect This November
Throughout November, SWMW Law will publish a variety of resources about lung cancer and asbestos-related lung cancer. Keep an eye out for future posts:
- All Things Lung Cancer – What You Need to Know
- Living With Lung Cancer
- Lung Cancer Hero Profile – Patient
- Caring For Someone With Cancer
- Lung Cancer Hero Profile – Caregiver
- COVID-19 and Lung Cancer
Be sure to follow SWMW Law on Facebook so you can share our content and keep up with the latest developments on lung cancer treatment, research, and legal resources.