As we head into the month of November, Lung Cancer Awareness Month, I want to share some facts about the deadliest cancer in the United States. Lung cancer kills more people than colon, prostate, and breast cancer combined. More women die from lung cancer than breast cancer and it kills more men than prostate cancer. The high fatality rate is a result diagnosing the disease too late, at a time when surgery is no longer an option.
Unfortunately, even though it’s such a problem, there is very little public dialogue about lung cancer.
On Saturday, November 3, Roswell Park is hosting the Breath of Life Celebration, an incredible experience open not only to Roswell Park patients, but also to anyone who has been affected by this disease. At this year’s Breath of Life, you will hear from patients and survivors as they share their personal stories. Alex Adjei, MD, PhD, FACP, will highlight the most recent advances in lung cancer treatment, diagnosis and screening. We will also acknowledge and show our heartfelt appreciation to those who have raised money for lung cancer research. In addition, a light breakfast will be provided, as well as information tables where people can learn more about psychosocial support, nutritional information, and screening guidelines.
This event is very important to us because it puts the spotlight on the deadliest cancer in the U.S. We see plenty of pink during the month of October, but this provides a special venue specifically for lung cancer patients. We believe Breath of Life increases much-needed awareness in the community and strengthens relationships between patients.
As a reminder, it’s never too late to stop smoking. Encourage family members and friends during this next month to kick their habit. I would recommend Just Breathe, Roswell Park’s smoking cessation program for Roswell Park patients and their families, or the NYS Smokers’ Quitline, which offers services to the public. If you have already been diagnosed with lung cancer, it is absolutely not too late to quit. We have a team of researchers here at Roswell Park investigating how smoking during treatment can do a great deal of harm in holding back potential benefits. Bottom line, if you smoke – quit.
At Roswell Park, we are really making an effort to promote early detection for those who believe they may be at high risk. The earlier we catch this disease, the more effectively we can treat it. Once your tumor is removed and treatment is completed, we will continue to monitor and track you as a survivor with annual CTs and bronchoscopies. At Roswell Park, we want to bring lung cancer into the realm of other cancers, such as breast and prostate, so that if you are diagnosed, you can be treated and live a long and productive life.