For many people, November means apple cider, pumpkin pie, and Thanksgiving. In the health and medical fields, November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, which emphasizes education and awareness of all things about lung cancer and other cancers affecting the respiratory system – such as mesothelioma.
This year, help out by making November a month to educate others about mesothelioma and lung cancer by taking part in Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Teaching the facts about mesothelioma, its symptoms, and its causes can help patients, family members, and friends better understand the disease and help advocate for the community.
Pleural mesothelioma is caused by inhalation or ingestion of airborne asbestos fibers. The fibers then become lodged in the lining of the chest, where, over the years, they begin to irritate the tissue leading to cancer. Not everyone exposed to asbestos will develop mesothelioma, but those who do often are not diagnosed until decades after exposure. The treatment protocol for pleural mesothelioma is similar to that of lung cancer.
People who live with pleural mesothelioma, or who care for someone with the cancer, know that educating the public about the struggles facing rare disease sufferers often takes a focused effort from organizations, the government, the medical community and many volunteers.
Early Detection of Mesothelioma is Important
With a vision of “a world where no one dies of lung cancer,” LUNGevity is 100% focused on increasing and improving lung cancer survivorship. In addition, the 501(c)(3) charity focuses on building and sustaining a community for all those affected by lung cancer and through “accelerating research into early detection and more effective treatments” the organization aims to make an immediate impact on quality of life and survivorship in lung cancer patients.
The key to increased life expectancy when battling mesothelioma is early detection. When treating mesothelioma patients, the best outcome is achieved with early detection of the disease by increasing treatment options and improving the patients’ quality of life while battling the cancer.
“LUNGevity believes strongly that everyone can drive progress and change for people affected by the disease, whether through research funding, mentoring a fellow lung cancer patient, or organizing and participating in events and activities to raise funds and awareness,” as stated in the 2016 press release kicking off the awareness month.
Know What Questions to Ask Your Mesothelioma Doctor
According to the American Lung Association, “The diagnosis of mesothelioma is very serious and may be overwhelming and affects all aspects of life in a profound way.” The ALA recommends being actively prepared for each healthcare visit by writing down questions to ensure you get everything you need in the short visit, and that your family and caregivers are thoroughly informed about your wants and needs.
- What is the goal of the treatment you are proposing? Is the intent to cure me from the disease or manage its symptoms?
- What are the side effects of the proposed treatment and how will they affect my quality of life?
- Am I a candidate for any clinical trial?
- What are my options for palliative care to address management of my shortness of breath and pain?
- Can you help me and my family make decisions about how I will be treated at the end of my life?
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in men and women with an estimated 222,500 new diagnoses and 155,870 deaths in 2017, according to the National Cancer Institute. Nearly 3,000 Americans are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year.
Visit ‘Faces of Mesothelioma’ to read stories from mesothelioma survivors and their family members about how mesothelioma has impacted their lives.