November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month
The intention of the month is to encourage people to seek medical advice sooner, to encourage early diagnosis ensuring the best possible chance of treating the disease effectively, and to highlight other important factors that influence patient outcomes. For example, educating about the complexity of lung cancer, the variety of people affected, and the damaging effects of lung cancer stigma can help to promote earlier diagnosis and foster better patient care.4 Furthermore, LCAM is an opportunity to highlight advances in treatment, champion global access to care and importantly, to show our support for patients and their loved ones.
Challenging the stigma
It is a common misconception that lung cancer is only a smokers’ disease. However, over half of those diagnosed are former smokers or people who have never smoked.5 This misconception has been linked to poor outcomes, due to factors such as delay in seeking treatment, disease-related distress, reduced social support and lower quality of care.6,7
At Roche, we are committed to improving outcomes for every person affected by lung cancer. One of our key goals this LCAM is to challenge the stigma associated with lung cancer and highlight the perspectives of people affected by the disease. As part of our Lung Cancer And Me campaign, our new lung artwork (above) unites the individual perspectives of people affected by lung cancer, including patients, their family members, oncologists, and advocates, showing how the emotional toll of the disease stretches beyond the patient.
8 Symptoms of Lung Cancer
**Symptoms of lung cancer develop as the condition progresses and there are usually no signs or symptoms in the early stages.
The main symptoms of lung cancer are listed below. If you have any of these, you should see your GP
- Smoking is linked to about 80% of lung cancer deaths.
- People who smoke cigarettes are 15 to 30 times more likely to get lung cancer or die from lung cancer than people who do not smoke.
- Quitting smoking at any age greatly reduces the risk of lung cancer.
- Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. It is a radioactive gas that comes from rocks, dust and building materials. The gas is of low concentrations in the open air and high levels inside homes and buildings.
- Symptoms of lung cancer vary from person to person.
- Most people with lung cancer do not show symptoms until cancer has reached advanced stages.
- Early detection of cancer increases the chances of successful treatment.
- Physical activity may lower the risk of lung cancer by 20%, as it improves lung function and protects it against many diseases3.
- Raising public awareness of lung cancer.
- Supporting scientific researches on lung cancer.
- Educating those at risk of lung cancer.
- Raising awareness of the harmful effects of smoking.
- WHO. Cancer. [Internet; cited 2019 November]. Available from: http://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/cancer.
- National Cancer Institute. SEER Cancer Statistics Review 1975-2010. [Internet; cited 2019 November]. Available from: https://seer.cancer.gov/archive/csr/1975_2010/results_merged/topic_survival.pdf.
- MOH Lung Cancer Awareness Month – https://www.moh.gov.sa/en/HealthAwareness/healthDay/2019/Pages/HealthDay-2019-11-01-30.aspx
- American Lung Association. [Internet; cited 2019 October]. Available from: https://www.lung.org/assets/documents/research/addressing-the-stigma-of-lung-cancer.pdf.
- Yang P. Lung Cancer in Never Smokers. Semin Respir Crit Care Med. 2011;32(1):10-21.
- Chambers S, et al. A systematic review of the impact of stigma and nihilism on lung cancer outcomes. BMC Cancer. 2012;12:184.
- Henningfield M and Adjel A. Lung Cancer Awareness Month – A Lot of Progress, But More Work Needs to Be Done. Journal of Thoracic Oncology. 2017;12(11):1603-1605.