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November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month

October 30, 2015

                           Lung Cancer Awareness photo 2 PNG

November is officially Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Lung cancer has a survival rate of 15% and is currently the leading cause of cancer death. It is the second most common cancer among both men and women in the United States. This year, the American Cancer Society estimates about 221,200 new cases, and about 158,040 deaths from lung cancer.

What is lung cancer?

Lung cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in one or both lungs. While not all lung cancer is caused by smoking, about 85-90 percent is attributed to smoking. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking in America, and the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Radon is a naturally occurring gas that comes from rocks and dirt and can get trapped in houses and buildings. Your chances of getting lung cancer from radon depend mostly on the level of radon in your home, the amount of time you spend in your home, and whether or not you’re a smoker.

Another major risk factor for contracting lung cancer is exposure to asbestos. Asbestos was banned in the 1980s because of its health dangers. Although it was banned, asbestos was still used in many industrial and insulation materials as a fire retardant, and unfortunately, some of this construction is still around.

Many people do not realize that they came in contact with asbestos. It can happen while working in an attic installing insulation, or by moving the insulation around during repairs or renovations.

There are several jobs that may expose people to asbestos. These include:

  • Carpentry
  • Factory Work
  • Demolition
  • Insulation
  • Shipbuilding
  • Installation of vehicle brake linings

Most construction carpenters are exposed to dangerous substances at some point in their career, especially when remodeling old buildings. Because of this, it is highly recommended to wear a respirator while working under these conditions. Face masks are just not enough, especially in areas that may be highly toxic.

The most common lung cancer symptoms are:

  • A persistent cough that does not go away
  • Shortness of breath
  • Onset of wheezing
  • Recurrent pneumonia or bronchitis
  • Coughing up blood
  • Hoarseness
  • Weight loss or loss of appetite

Unfortunately, most symptoms for lung cancer occur when the disease is already present and at its advanced stage.

You can prevent lung cancer by:

  • Not smoking. If you smoke, quitting can help drastically lower your chances of getting lung cancer. If you quit smoking before the cancer has developed, your lungs will work to repair themselves.
  • Lower your exposure to radon. You can lower your exposure by having your home tested and treated, if needed.
  • If you work near cancer-causing chemicals, make sure to protect yourself and lower your exposure to them as much as possible.
  • Staying healthy by eating fruits and vegetables can also be helpful in preventing lung cancer.

Due to the nature of the construction industry and the likelihood of exposure to toxic materials, it is very important that we spread awareness on lung cancer.

To learn more about lung cancer and ways to prevent it, visit the following links: