August 1, 2022 marks World Lung Cancer Day, a chance to not only support your loved ones with lung cancer, but also to learn about preventive steps to benefit your own health.
Lung cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer, but it is the leading cause of cancer deaths by a wide margin, according to the American Cancer Society. Twenty five percent of cancer deaths are attributed to lung cancer, which is more than colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined.
With an average diagnosis age of 70, lung cancer is more common in the elderly, with only small numbers of diagnoses for those under 45 years old. However, some of the choices individuals make when they are young can affect their likelihood of getting sick, including smoking, exposure to radon gas, air pollution and secondhand smoke.
Higher-risk individuals, for example, those between 55 and 80 years old with a history of smoking, can be screened for lung cancer. Early diagnosis and treatment can make a difference. According to the American Lung Association, if the estimated eight million Americans at high risk for lung cancer were to be screened, about 25,000 lives could be saved.
Even if you are not a high-risk individual, you can still take part in the fight against lung cancer by being educated, advocating for healthy choices to your loved ones, avoiding and helping others avoid secondhand smoke, and reducing minors’ access to tobacco products, including cigarettes and vaping devices.
For more information about lung cancer or your personal risk factors, contact your health care provider. For more information on quitting tobacco, please call the New York State Smokers’ Quitline at 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487) or visit www.nysmokefree.com. For other questions, contact the Livingston County Department of Health at 585-243-7299 or visit www.livingstoncounty.us/.