• Paridhi Rao

Lung Cancer Awareness Month

  • Lung cancer five-year survival rate (18.6%) is lower than many other leading cancer sites, such as colorectal (64.5%), breast (89.6%) and prostate (98.2%).

  • The five-year survival rate for lung cancer is 56% for cases detected when the disease is still localised to the lungs. However, only 16% of lung cancer cases are diagnosed at an early stage.

  • More than half of people with lung cancer die within one year of being diagnosed.

Over 20 years ago, the Lung Cancer Alliance launched Lung Cancer Awareness Day (LCAD) in the United States, to raise awareness and recognition of the typical symptoms of lung cancer (which are detailed within this article). Later, this evolved into a worldwide initiative that has been taking place in the month of November. The sole purpose of this month is to encourage people to seek medical help and early diagnosis, ensuring the best possible chance of successful treatment of this disease.

So what is lung cancer? Also known as lung carcinoma, lung cancer is one of the most common types of cancers out there. It is formed in the tissues of a lung, usually in the cells that line the air passage.

There are two major types of Lung Cancer based on the appearance of the cells under a microscope:-

  1. Small Cell Lung Cancer, which usually occurs amongst heavy smokers. This is less common as compared to non-small cell lung cancer.

2. Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer, which is an umbrella term for various types of cancers, including Squamous Cell Carcinoma, Large Cell Carcinoma, and Adenocarcinoma.

There are certain factors that can raise your risk of getting lung cancer:-

  • Smoking - As most people might expect, smoking is the cause of the majority of lung cancer cases. The earlier in life you start smoking, the longer you smoke, and the more cigarettes you smoke per day, the greater your risk of lung cancer. If you have quit smoking, then your chances of acquiring this will be lowered, but you will still be at higher risk than people who've never smoked before.

  • Second-hand Smoking - This is when you inhale smoke from another’s cigarette. Although people don’t realise it, this is also a leading cause of cancer, even if the person inhaling the smoke has never actually smoked first-hand before.

  • Family history of lung cancer - People who have parents, children, or siblings with lung cancer have a higher risk of this disease.

  • Exposure to asbestos, arsenic, and radiation- In the form of radiation therapy, CT scans, radon, or any other contact, intentional or accidental.

Some common symptoms of lung cancer are:

  • Persistent cough and/or coughing up blood

  • Pain in the chest and bones

  • Shortness of breath

  • Trouble swallowing

  • Fluid in the chest

  • Swelling in the face

  • Fatigue

  • Weight loss with no known cause

  • Loss of appetite


Treatment for lung cancer depends on the cancer's specific cell type, how far it has spread, and the person's performance status. Some of the common treatments include surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, palliative care, bronchoscopy, etc.

There is no definite way to prevent lung cancer, but there sure are numerous ways to reduce the risk:

  • Do not smoke

  • Quit smoking

  • Test your environment for carcinogenic elements like radon and asbestos

  • Lower your exposure to hazardous substances

  • Exercise regularly

  • Choose a healthy diet



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