As we head towards one of the busiest times of the year, November seems to fill up and get busy fast. There are festive lunches to schedule in, end-of-year school events to get to, plus the challenge of just keeping up with the increasingly hectic pace of normal life.
But, before the end-of-year busy-ness (totally a word!) takes hold, it’s important to recognise that November is important for another reason.
Each year, November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. As Australia’s biggest cancer killer (taking more lives than breast, prostate and ovarian cancer combined), lung cancer claims 25 people EACH DAY.
While most people think that lung cancer only targets older, long-term smokers, there are other risk factors that come into play. And, I know personally, that lung cancer is not an old person’s disease.
The facts about lung cancer
It’s estimated that 14,529 Australians will be diagnosed with lung cancer in 2022, making up around 9% of all new cancer cases. The fifth most commonly diagnosed cancer nationally, lung cancer has a relatively poor prognosis, with only 22% of people surviving 5 years.
90% of Australians believe smoking is the only risk factor for lung cancer, but this is not true. Occupational exposure (to dust, chemicals and asbestos), pollution and genetics also contribute to the development of lung cancer.
You may be surprised to learn that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 10 men diagnosed with lung cancer have NO history of smoking. In fact, almost a third of new lung cancer cases in men are a result of occupational exposure - not smoking.
Looking out for lung cancer
This November, be on the lookout for the potential signs and symptoms of lung cancer and share them with your friends and family. Early diagnosis makes the world of difference as often lung cancer isn’t caught until it’s much further advanced.
Watch out for:
- New, persistent or changed cough
- Chest pain
- Hoarse voice
- Coughing up blood
- Unexplained weight loss
As these symptoms are easy to dismiss or connected to other conditions, it’s vital to get everything checked out, just in case. The earlier the diagnosis, the better the outcome.
My friend, Simona, passed away from lung cancer 7 years ago. She was just 35 years of age. Our Simona sports bra and leggings are named in her honour and reflect her fierce courage and fight in the face of this terrible disease. The frangipani design was specifically chosen as it was Simona’s favourite flower.
During November, all proceeds from the sale of Simona sports bras and leggings will be donated to the Lung Foundation Australia. Committed to improving the lives of Australians living with or impacted by lung disease, the Lung Foundation Australia enables life-saving research and champions programs and services to help them live their best life.
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