Lung Cancer Awareness – Prevention, Treatment, and Survivorship

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Lung Cancer Awareness – Prevention, Treatment, and Survivorship

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Lung Cancer Awareness – Prevention, Treatment, and Survivorship

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For Lung Cancer Awareness Month, our goal is to raise awareness of the leading cause of cancer deaths in the world. Understanding prevention, treatment, and survivorship are all vital to fighting the effects of lung cancer in our communities. With one voice, we can work together to raise awareness that anyone with lungs can get lung cancer.

Risk Reduction and Early Detection

The fight against lung cancer in Kentucky begins with reducing or eliminating risk factors that have the possibility to lead to a lung cancer diagnosis. In our interview with Jennifer Knight, Partnership and Sustainability Specialist at the Kentucky Cancer Consortium, we learn about the importance of lung cancer risk reduction as it can be the difference between life or death.

  • Kentucky is now second in number of lung cancer screening in the U.S. As of 2021, the state has seen an increase in lung cancer early detection.
  • Screening is important to decrease late-stage lung cancer diagnoses and increase survival rates.
  • The lung cancer stigma prevents many people from having effective conversations with health care providers and receiving the necessary screenings.
  • Shared decision-making conversations with a physician help foster necessary discussions about the risk factors of lung cancer, including radon gas and secondhand smoke.
  • Policy work surrounding lung cancer is increasing to improve lung cancer survival statistics, but there is more work to be done.
  • There is continuing research on who is eligible for lung cancer screenings.

During a shared decision-making conversation with the physician is a perfect time to talk about radon and having your home tested. And the same goes for dangers of secondhand smoke… because when you combined smoking, radon gas, and secondhand smoke, the risk for lung cancer goes up astronomically.

Jennifer Knight, Partnership and Sustainability Specialist at the Kentucky Cancer Consortium

Lung Cancer Treatment

For those who are diagnosed, lung cancer research and treatment has come a long way. Ongoing research efforts will continue to improve treatment options and increase survival statistics. In talking with Dr. Tim Mullett, Specialist and Professor of Thoracic Surgery at the UK Markey Cancer Center, greater education and awareness are needed to prevent lung cancer and to detect the disease sooner. Those diagnosed in an earlier stage have more treatment options compared to those diagnosed at a later stage. Depending on your exposure risk, talk to your doctor about whether you qualify for lung cancer screening.

  • Lung cancer can easily go undetected and can show very few symptoms in the early stages.
  • There are a growing number of women diagnosed with lung cancer who have never smoked.
  • Treatment plans for lung cancer have expanded greatly over the past 10 years, with targeted therapy treatment and surgery.
  • Doctors should continue to look at the causes of lung cancer beyond smoking and continue conversations about other possible risk factors.
  • Targeted therapy is transforming how we view cancer mutations and the different causes of lung cancer, including radon gas.
  • As lung cancer research continues, there is an increase in better treatment for future lung cancer patients.

It’s important as health care professionals to all work to break down that stigma, that it’s only tobacco, and get to where lung cancer is a discussion about risk and benefit. And today, because of our use of lung cancer screening and the increasing impact of targeted therapy, we need to talk about the hope of the future.

Dr. Tim Mullett, Specialist and Professor of Thoracic Surgery at the UK Cancer Center

Lung Cancer Survivorship

A lung cancer diagnosis is devastating, regardless of what led to the diagnosis, smoking history or not. Smoking is not the only cause of lung cancer. No one living with lung cancer should have to battle alone. Lindi Campbell, Lung Cancer Survivor and Founder of Breath of Hope KY, is a lung cancer survivor using her voice to advocate for better lung cancer survival rates in Kentucky through research and education. Lindi has created a community network through Facebook to connect other survivors across Kentucky who can connect and encourage one another in the fight against this disease. Learn more about Lindi’s lung cancer survivor story. 

  • There is a need to raise awareness that anyone with lungs can get lung cancer.
  • Many people still believe if you have lung cancer you deserve the diagnosis, which prevents survivors from reaching out.
  • There is a growing number of survivors being diagnosed even though they have never smoked. Radon being the leading cause in nonsmokers.
  • The mental and emotional strain of lung cancer plays a large role in a lung cancer patient’s journey and survival.
  • When diagnosed with lung cancer, it is important to have a community of support.
  • Sharing the stories of lung cancer survivors helps raise awareness of the disease and end the lung cancer stigma. 

It’s as much a psychological effect as it is a physical effect. And the first thing anybody wants to do when they are diagnosed is to ask somebody else…there are things that we [survivors] can answer that the public, and even our closest family members, can’t be for us.

Lindi Campbell, Lung Cancer Survivor and Founder of Breath of Hope Kentucky Tweet

Help Raise Awareness and Fight the Lung Cancer Stigma

  1. Help educate others that anyone with lungs can get lung cancer, not just those who smoke.
  2. Understand the risk factors that can cause lung cancer and take action to eliminate those risks in your life and the lives of your friends and family.
  3. If you feel led, financially support lung cancer initiatives to help improve treatment options and survivorship for those living with lung cancer, such as Breath of Hope Kentucky, American Lung Association, BREATHE, CanSAR, or the Kentucky LEADS Collaborative.
  4. Help us advocate! Follow advocacy organizations on social media and share facts and information to help us raise awareness and educate others about how they can reduce risks in their own lives.