Stories of Lung Cancer Early Detection
"The scary thing about lung cancer is that it can go so long without being symptomatic and that is what makes early detection so important. I was feeling great, but little did I know this disease was growing inside of me." —Ashley M., LUNG FORCE Hero
Nearly a quarter of a million American women and men will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year. Getting a diagnosis when lung cancer is in its early stages and easier to treat is crucial. It can help save lives.
Right now, the best way to detect lung cancer early is through lung cancer screening for high-risk individuals. But for too many people, lung cancer is found by chance. For example:
- At a routine health checkup, Heather J., an avid runner and outdoorsperson, talked to her doctor about shortness of breath that had been bothering her. The doctor thought it was allergies, but ordered chest X-ray just to be safe.
- For Zelita W., an annual mammogram led to her diagnosis of adenocarcinoma lung cancer.
- Ashley M. was a college student who sneezed and thought she'd simply pulled a muscle in her back.
Thankfully, for Heather, Zelita and Ashley, their lung cancer was diagnosed early and treatment plans were put in place.
New methods of early detection are on the horizon. Three major organizations fighting lung cancer are joining forces to form a lung cancer "Interception Dream Team" to investigate cancer interception—a promising new approach to cancer prevention and treatment. Instead of identifying cancer after it's developed, the Dream Team will investigate a way to stop lung cancer before it even begins.
Screening and potential innovative methods of early detection along with improving treatment options bring new hope for lung cancer patients. That's why the American Lung Association's LUNG FORCE initiative focuses on uniting women and our nation in the effort to defeat lung cancer. Awareness is the critical first step toward saving lives. Awareness is not just understanding what lung cancer is, but also knowing lung cancer risk factors and talking to your doctor about your risks and screening options. And, sharing lung cancer experiences can help bring awareness to others and encourage them to be proactive about their lung health. All of these things are important to finding lung cancer early and getting a treatment plan in place; which gives patients a greater chance of survival. In fact, if lung cancer is caught before it spreads, the likelihood of survival more than triples.
"I am thankful to be alive and stronger each day. Get your check-ups; visit your doctors routinely; and know your close family's medical history." —Zelita W., LUNG FORCE Hero
This Lung Cancer Awareness Month, you can help. If lung cancer has touched your life, #ShareYourVoice to give others courage, help us raise awareness about the disease and the importance of early detection by sharing your story at LUNGFORCE.org.
"It has been a long recovery, I had to learn to breathe again. The laps around my very small living room, turned into walks around the block and then short hikes at the local park. Finally I was back on my bike. … I still ride my bike, run and enjoy everyday life. I may not be the fastest person out on the trails, but every time I get on my bike or step outside to run, I close my eyes, take a deep breath and thank God that I am alive." —Heather J., LUNG FORCE Hero