Lung Cancer Awareness Month

Lung Cancer Awareness Month

LungCancerNovember is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. It isn’t publicized as much as Breast Cancer. It is a cancer that comes with a stigma due to its link to tobacco use.  People diagnosed with lung cancer often feel a sense of responsibility for getting cancer and others may judge them by thinking they deserve it because they smoked.  No one deserves cancer.  We need to end the stigma.

Hard Facts

  • According to the Florida Cancer Data System, lung cancer is the most diagnosed cancer in Florida and has the highest mortality rate.
  • Nationally, lung cancer is tied with prostate cancer as the second most diagnosed cancer following breast cancer.
  • Lung cancer is the deadliest form of cancer.
  • It has a significantly low survival rate. 17% of people diagnosed with lung cancer live five years after diagnosis. Compare this to prostate cancer at 98.9% and breast cancer at 89.4%.

As many as 20% of people who die from lung cancer in the United States every year do not smoke or use any other form of tobacco. It’s still true that staying away from tobacco is the most important thing any of us can do to lower our risk of getting lung cancer. But there are also other risk factors. Researchers have made a lot of progress over the past decade in understanding what causes lung cancer in non-smokers:

  • Radon Gas
  • Secondhand smoke
  • Cancer causing agents at work
  • Air pollution
  • Gene mutations

With these risks in mind, the Tallahassee Cancer Center wants to remind people there are things you can do to help reduce your risk even more.

Test your home for radon, avoid secondhand smoke and limit exposures at work. A healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables may also help reduce your risk of lung cancer.

Hopeful Horizon

There is hope on the horizon, and some improvements are already here and being utilized to improve outcomes. One of these improvements is a low dose CT screening of high-risk individuals. Last year Medicare approved coverage for this screening for people who meet the following guidelines:

  • Between the ages of 55 and 74.
  • Have smoked at least a pack a day for 30 years or two packs a day for 15 years.
  • Are still smoking or have stopped smoking within the last 15 years.

This test may improve screening of lung cancer so that it can be found in its earlier more treatable stages.

Treatment in Tallahassee

The Tallahassee Memorial Cancer Center offers Super Dimension Bronchoscopy, a minimally-invasive procedure for the detection and diagnosis of early-stage lung cancer. With this procedure, trained pulmonologists can biopsy tissue that could not be reached otherwise. They are able to remove tissue that may help in further molecular testing of the tumor to improve treatment options. These advances in diagnostics may impact treatment options and improve five-year survival rates.

Immunotherapy also offers hope for the future treatment of lung cancer. Immunotherapy utilizes the body’s immune system to fight cancer. One drug has already been approved for use as a second line treatment for some lung cancers. Immunotherapy may increase survival rates as well.

Get Connected

There are many ways that you can support lung cancer awareness. The fact is that one in three people know someone who has had lung cancer. If you are one of those people you understand the fear and hopelessness that a lung cancer diagnosis can bring. There are programs that help.

  • Free to Breathe - A partnership between lung cancer survivors, advocates, researchers and healthcare professionals has set a goal to double lung cancer survival by 2022. Learn more at
  • Lung Cancer Foundation of America - One of the missions of this organization is to overcome the invisibility of lung cancer by prompting a national dialog. Learn more at
  • LUNGevity - LUNGevity is another organization that helps people affected by lung cancer to find the support they need during their fight. LUNGevity funds research that has the potential to revolutionize outcomes for those diagnosed with lung cancer. Learn more at

About the Tallahassee Memorial Cancer Center

The only cancer program in the Big Bend region to offer hematology/oncology, radiation oncology, surgical oncology and gynecologic oncology, the Tallahassee Memorial Cancer Center is known for its highly-trained medical team and delivering the most powerful treatment options, all under one roof. Accredited since 1951, by the American College of Surgeon’s Commission on Cancer, the Tallahassee Memorial Cancer Center is the longest continuously accredited comprehensive community hospital cancer program in the State of Florida.

To learn more about the Tallahassee Memorial Cancer Center, please visit



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