On World Lung Cancer Day on August 1, the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) is commemorating, celebrating and supporting those impacted by lung cancer. FIRS joins 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.
FIRS is an organization consisting of the world’s leading international respiratory societies, including the American Thoracic Society, CHEST, Asociación Latinoamericana De Tórax, Asian Pacific Society of Respirology, European Respiratory Society, International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases and the Pan African Thoracic Society.
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 224,390 new cases of lung cancer are expected to be diagnosed in 2016, accounting for about 14 percent of all cancer diagnoses in the United States alone.
“World Lung Cancer Day 2016: 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 such as 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.