November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. This campaign started back in 1995 in recognition of a large number of people who were developing this debilitating and often deadly disease, many without a full understanding of what could be done to help prevent its onset and progression. During Lung Cancer Awareness Month, people come together to increase awareness of lung cancer and help people know how to prevent it.
Formation of Lung Cancer
Every cell in the human body matures and divides into two new cells that are exactly the same as the source cell. The old cell is duplicated into the new cells because of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), a genetic material. The identical duplication of cells enables the body to replenish itself. An error or mutation in the DNA of a cell is the beginning of cancer formation. DNA errors are attributed to the aging process or environmental factors, which commonly include cigarette smoking, exposure to radon gas, or breathing in asbestos fibers. It takes a series of errors or mutations before a lung cancer cell is formed.
People At Risk
Statistics show that 2 of 3 people diagnosed with lung cancer are 65 or over. Other people who are at risk include the following:
- Those exposed to chemicals and irritants (such as radon)
- Those exposed to smoke or second hand smoke
- People with a family history of lung cancer
Minimizing the Risk
There are no guaranteed steps to avoid lung cancer, but some measures may help to at least minimize the risks.
- Exercise regularly
- Eat a diet that is rich in vitamins
- Manage stress
- Minimize exposure to lung irritants such as smoke
- See the doctor regularly
It is never too late to become healthy. Take the necessary steps to avoid the risk of lung cancer. Stay informed about warning signs, new research, and the latest treatments, especially if you are at an increased risk for developing lung cancer. Help spread the word about ways to prevent lung cancer.