Alaska Celebrates Lung Cancer Awareness Month
Although you see pink throughout the month of October as individuals and groups try to bring more awareness of breast cancer, November is the awareness month for the type of cancer that is, by far, the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women. Lung cancer accounts for about 27 percent of all cancer deaths. More people die of lung cancer than breast, colon and prostate cancers combined.
Lung Cancer Awareness month is an effort to make a difference in lung cancer through research, education, and awareness of this deadly disease. Service and healthcare organizations throughout the world organize and host events and fundraisers toward this effort including:
- Giving Tuesday. On Nov. this year, join the world by making a donation to lung cancer research, education and awareness.
- Share your Story. If you or a family member is a lung cancer survivor, you are encouraged to share you story during the the month of November with your health care organizations and with your local media.
- Wear a White Ribbon. Trade in your pink for a white ribbon and or wristband and wear it wherever you go during the month of November.
- Shop Black Friday With Amazon Smile. If you Black Friday shop on Amazon, shop through Amazon Smile first and get the same great prices while donating .5 percent of your purchase to lung cancer.
- Attend and host Shine a Light events in your community. There are currently events scheduled in Anchorage and Palmer as listed below:
- Anchorage: Nov. 15, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., sponsored by Anchorage Associates of Radiation Medicine
- Palmer: Nov. 10, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m., sponsored by Mat-Su Valley Cancer Center
- Participate in the Great American Smokeout on Thursday, Nov. 17
The leading cause of lung cancer is tobacco smoking and the Great American Smokeout strives to get people to stop smoking and improve their chances of a healthy life. From 80 to 90 percent of lung cancer deaths could be avoided if those people did not smoke. Most people who smoke are addicted to nicotine and would benefit from using approved stop smoking medications and receiving counseling to help support their quit attempt. Approved stop smoking medications include: nicotine patches, gum, lozenge, inhaler, and nasal spray; Chantix and Zyban. As of today, e-cigarettes are not an approved stop smoking medication.
Cigarettes cause a higher percentage of cancer deaths in Alaska than in almost every other U.S. state, an Oct. 2016 national report said. The report found that of the cancer deaths among Alaska adults in 2014, 31.4 percent were caused by cigarettes, the sixth highest rate in the nation. The report was published in JAMA Internal Medicine, a journal of the American Medical Society. All of the other states in the top five were southern states, with the exception of Nevada. Studies have also shown that many attempts and many different methods are often needed to finally quit smoking and stopping smoking reduces the risk of developing lung cancer.
Although smoking is by far the largest known cause of lung cancer, anyone can get lung cancer. Anchorage’s Alaska CyberKnife sees lung cancer patients every day and their expert radiation oncologists encourage the awareness of lung cancer research and treatment currently available.