November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. This is an important effort by a number of organizations, both big and small. This national effort is designed to bring the problem of lung cancer front and center to the minds of the American public. The following comments may seem at cross purposes since I am obviously in favor of having the general public aware of the scourge of lung cancer.
I am wondering: Who in America is not aware of lung cancer? Who is not aware of the several hundred thousand deaths each year due to lung cancer? Who is not aware of the fact that lung cancer kills more people each year than breast, colon and prostate cancer combined? Who is not aware that smoking is the most common cause of primary lung cancer? Who is not aware that early detection, along with smoking cessation, improves the survival rate and reduces the risk of lung cancer?
The good news is that early detection programs have helped to reduce the mortality of lung cancer by 20%. Advanced diagnostic techniques, such as navigational bronchoscopy and endo bronchial ultrasound, which are both available locally, have helped detect early lung cancers as well as stage them so needless treatments are not applied. New drugs and approaches to therapy can improve survival in many patients, but prevention remains the best hope against this disease.
I support the national awareness movement, but come on folks we really need to be aware of lung cancer all year, 24/7!