November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month in the United States – which coincides with Radon Action Month in Canada.
What is lung cancer?
Lung cancer occurs when cells in the lungs mutate. Most often, this is caused by the dangerous carcinogens we breathe. Although sometimes there is no known cause or exposure. Cancer cells grow uncontrollably and cluster together to form a tumor, destroying healthy lung tissue. Lung cancer is usually not noticed until it spreads to other areas of the body where it is detected at an advanced stage.
What causes lung cancer?
- Smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer in the United States. It is the primary cause of 90% of lung cancer cases.
- Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer and the number one cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. Radon is a colorless, odorless radioactive gas. It is naturally occurring and caused by the breakdown of radioactive elements in soil and rocks.
Hazardous chemicals and materials
- Asbestos, uranium, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, nickel and some petroleum products are some examples of carcinogens people are exposed to.
- Tiny solid and liquid particles that are in the air we breathe can cause lung cancer.
- Genetics can also play a role in someone’s chance of developing lung cancer. If others in your family have had lung cancer, you may be at higher risk.
What is Lung Cancer Awareness Month?
Lung Cancer Awareness Month began back in 1995 as Lung Cancer Awareness Day. Over the years Lung Cancer Awareness Day grew, just as lung cancer awareness increased. Eventually, the fight against lung cancer became so big that November became Lung Cancer Awareness Month.
How can you participate in Lung Cancer Awareness Month?
- The American Lung Association, American Cancer Society, and many other organizations have great resources for learning more about lung cancer and what causes the disease.
- If you are a smoker, try quitting. Easier said than done, but while having been a smoker in the past increases the risk of lung cancer, quitting can still decrease your chances.
- Test your home for radon. If you have elevated radon levels, hire a certified radon mitigator to install a radon mitigation system to bring the levels down.
- If you are eligible, or if you have been exposed to possible carcinogens, get yourself screened for lung cancer.
- Advocate for lung health issues and lobby politicians to act on laws and programs that save lives.
- Donate to lung cancer charities such as the American Lung Association. They fund lung disease and lung cancer research, new treatments, lung health education, and more.
- Participate in awareness events like Lung Force’s walks and runs or educational webinars.
- Be vocal in real life and social media about lung cancer. It is an uncomfortable subject for many but making it less taboo is vital in getting people of all walks of life to join the fight.
Radonova is the laboratory of choice for numerous government radon surveys, as well as other public, and private sector large-scale measurement contracts around the world. A truly global laboratory, Radonova is active in over 80 countries and has performed millions of radon measurements.