On World Lung Cancer Day, August 1, the American Thoracic Society and fellow members of the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) commemorates, celebrates and supports those impacted by lung cancer.
FIRS continues to support the grassroots efforts of the lung cancer community to raise awareness about lung cancer and its global impact, creating an educational movement of understanding lung cancer risks as well as early treatment around the world.
Lung cancer is the most common cancer worldwide, accounting for 1.8 million new cases in 2012, and is responsible for nearly one in five cancer deaths according to the World Health Organization. Lung cancer claims more lives yearly than breast, colon and prostate cancers combined. According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 222,500 new cases of lung cancer are expected to be diagnosed in 2017.
World Lung Cancer Day 2017: Honor, Unite, Inspire highlights the many risk factors to be aware of in order to detect lung cancer at the earliest stage possible. While most understand that smoking is the single greatest risk factor for lung cancer, other lesser-known risk factors include environment and genetics. Environmental exposure to radon, asbestos, arsenic, beryllium and uranium have all been linked to lung cancer. The risk of lung cancer also increases with a history of cancer in another part of the body, age, family history, radiation to the chest area and lung diseases like COPD.
The initiative also aims to shed light on key symptoms and screening options. Symptoms include change in mucus, chest or back pain, coughing up blood and difficulty swallowing. Tests that may be used to diagnose lung cancer include chest X-rays, CT and PET scans, bronchoscopy and needle biopsies. If you are a current or former smoker and over age 55, you may be a candidate for a low-dose CT scan screening that can offer early detection of lung cancer, potentially at its earliest stages.
“While we have made progress in treating lung cancer, we must continue to advocate for tobacco control and education to help reduce the number of new cases. World Lung Cancer Day efforts help to ensure that diagnosis, treatment and prevention remain a part of the global agenda on health,” said ATS President Marc Moss, MD.
More than 70,000 global FIRS members have united in support of World Lung Cancer Day, including member organizations: CHEST, Asociación Latinoamericana del Thorax (ALAT), the American Thoracic Society, the Asian Pacific Society of Respirology, the European Respiratory Society, the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease and the Pan African Thoracic Society.
Patients, families and caregivers can download free educational resources from the ATS to learn more about lung cancer, risk factors, screenings and treatment options.