August 1st is World Lung Cancer Day, and with it, represents an intention to educate people on the disease that is responsible for nearly 1 in every 5 cancer deaths. There are many different factors that can lead to the development of lung cancer, but smoking tobacco is by far the most prevalent and is cited as the cause for nearly 80% of all lung cancer deaths. However, exposure to diesel fumes, radon, asbestos, or even general air pollution are also known to lead to various lung cancers.
In addition to the general problem of lung cancer as a whole, with the ever-growing COVID-19 pandemic, proper lung health is of the utmost importance for many—not just those with a proper diagnosis. Those who are at higher risk are now faced with a serious dilemma. And with diseases like asthma, COPD, bronchitis, and lung cancers affecting nearly 37 million Americans, the risks associated with everyday activities are significantly highlighted for those individuals and those in contact with them.
Types of Lung Cancer and Treatment
Currently, the most aggressive form of lung cancer is small cell lung cancer (SCLC), and it accounts for 10-15% of all lung cancer diagnoses. SCLC cells tend to grow more quickly and metastasize more easily than other lung cancers. Many times, this results in a diagnosis only after the cancer has spread to a point where the likelihood of recovery is quite low. While this cancer is aggressive, if it can be detected early before it has had time to advance, there are treatment options available which can drastically improve patient survival rate.
With such dangerous diseases, the issue of curing them is paramount yet many remain incurable. Mesothelioma is one example of these types of cancer. It most commonly occurs in the lining of the lungs, and is known to be caused by inhalation of asbestos fibres. Unfortunately, due to varying factors, diagnosis of this cancer is quite rare — accounting for about 0.2% of all cancer diagnoses in the United States. Since it is so rare, it is also frequently misdiagnosed, which only further hinders the quality of care patients receive. However, if diagnosed properly and early, new treatments can vastly improve both quality of life and general life expectancy.
The most common form of lung cancer is known as lung adenocarcinoma, which accounts for around 30% of all lung cancer cases. Adenocarcinomas can also commonly be found in other areas such as the breasts, prostate, pancreas, or colon. Treatment for this type of lung cancer may vary based on differing factors, but in many cases, surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and radiation are readily available options. Adenocarcinomas more commonly occur in women and it’s the most common form of lung cancer in individuals who have never smoked.
Lung Cancer Education and Prevention
Overall, lung cancer has, and still continues to, tragically affect the lives of those who are or may be diagnosed. Education around the adverse side effects of things such as smoking/secondhand smoke, exposure to harmful chemicals, and even other unsuspecting factors proves time and time again to be of great importance in mitigating those risks. One of the best things former smokers can do is to take a low-dose CT lung cancer screening test. In 2018, Outcome Health worked with the Ad Council and American Lung Association to tailor their successful “Saved By The Scan” campaign for our point-of-care platform. By adding data points around survival rates when lung cancer is caught, we hoped to drive more patients to be screened.
By working with health advocacy groups like the Ad Council, Outcome Health can ensure that impactful messages are reaching patients in the moments that matter most. Learn more about our partnership with the Ad Council.
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