November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month

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November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month

Monday, October 31, 2016
What You Should Know About Lung Cancer Screening, Quitting Tobacco, and Radon

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month and your patients may want to be aware of a newer lung cancer screening test, good ways to quit tobacco, and also know about radon. This is because lung cancer accounts for more deaths than any other cancer in both men and women in the United States and Michigan. In Michigan in 2013, 5,761 people died of lung cancer; in 2016, it is estimated that there will be 8,440 new cases, and 6,030 people will die of lung cancer.

If you are seeing a current or former heavy smoker and they are 55 to 80 years of age, talk to them about lung cancer screening including its benefits and risks. Lung cancer screening, with low-dose CT scans, has been proven to reduce deaths from lung cancer. As part of this, your patient may want to contact their health insurance company to find out their coverage and any costs they may have in relation to lung cancer screening.

Cigarette smoking causes, by far, most lung cancer deaths in both men and women. Quitting smoking is not easy, so seeking help is important. If your patient smokes:

  1. Talk to them about steps to quit
  2. Encourage them to visit for tools to help them quit smoking
  3. Suggest they call the Michigan Tobacco QuitLine at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669) for free help over the phone
  4. Quitting tobacco information and resources - for people seeking help in quitting tobacco

Radon is a radioactive gas that cannot be seen, smelled, or tasted. It is a natural substance that can be found in the dirt and rocks beneath a house. It can enter homes. Exposure to radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States (US), after smoking. Radon-related cancers are responsible for an estimated 21,000 deaths annually in the US. Risk is determined by such things as how much radon is in a home, or other indoor environment, the amount of time spent in that environment, and whether a person smokes or has ever smoked.

Have you had your home tested for radon? Read more about radon.

In the U.S., lung cancer case and death rates are higher among African American males when compared to White males. Lung cancer case and death rates in Michigan are higher among men when compared to women and higher among African American males when compared to White males.