November is National Lung Cancer Awareness Month

(November 9, 2009)

Lung Cancer is a tragic disease that takes a terrible toll on those with the disease, as well as their loved ones.  Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer in both men and women in the United States.  In fact, more people die from lung cancer than any other type of cancer.  The American Lung Association has long been the leader in the fight against lung cancer and is taking new steps to help both patients and their families.   

Meeting the Need
The Lung Association has begun a nationwide lung cancer initiative to address the needs of patients and their families.  We've found that one of their most important needs is comprehensive information and education about the disease, including treatment options. To close this gap, we are developing a robust set of information services for people at any stage of their disease. You can begin to learn more about lung cancer here.

Fighting the Stigma
We also recognize that lung cancer carries a stigma related to the perception that all people with lung cancer are or were smokers and that they brought it on themselves.  While the leading risk factor for lung cancer is smoking, the American Lung Association emphasizes that patients must not be blamed for their disease.  The stigma associated with smoking and cancer becomes a major barrier to addressing the needs of persons diagnosed with lung cancer and their caregivers. This unnecessary stigma impacts how lung cancer is viewed by patients, their family members and caregivers, health providers, and the public in general.  The bottom line is that no one deserves lung cancer – and we must defeat the stigma to defeat the disease.

The American Lung Association believes that creating awareness about the realities of lung cancer through education and advocacy will help reduce the stigma and create a sense of urgency that will bring lung cancer to the forefront.  We are also training staff and volunteers nationwide in effective messages to lessen the stigma of lung cancer.

Changing Public Policy
Public policy is a key component in preventing and treating lung cancer.  The American Lung Association fights for policies that reduce tobacco use and help smokers quit.  We also advocate for increased funding for lung cancer research so that surviving lung cancer becomes the norm.  Visit here to urge your Senators and Representative in Washington to increase funding for lung cancer research. 

Helping Smokers Quit
Quitting smoking is the single most important step a smoker can take to reduce their risk for lung cancer. Quitting can be tough but smokers don't have to quit alone. Our smoking cessation programs have helped smokers quit for nearly 30 years.  Freedom From Smoking  and Not-On-Tobacco are two programs available to help adult and teen smokers quit for good. Our Quitter in You program is designed to help people who have tried to quit before see each attempt as a step to success, not a failure.

Radon and Lung Cancer
While smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer, the second leading cause among non-smokers is exposure to radon , an invisible gas.  Test your home for radon — it's easy and inexpensive.  Every home should be tested since radon may be found in any home.  If your home has high radon, it can be fixed.  You can find out more from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Fighting for a Cure
The Lung Association is proud to support National Lung Cancer Awareness Month, and encourages all Americans to take time to learn about the deadliest of cancers and join us in the fight for the cure.

The American Lung Association funds research that shows great promise of advancing diagnostics and treatment, with the ultimate goal to find a cure. Research we currently support includes:

  • To develop a noninvasive blood test to detect early lung cancer
  • To design a lung cancer vaccine to induce immune response
  • To learn the mechanisms that determine how healthy lung cells turn cancerous
  • That prevent people with COPD from getting lung cancer
  • Various studies to find better treatments for lung cancer patients

You can join our fight against lung cancer by making a donation to support our mission, to prevent lung disease and promote lung health.