November is National Lung Cancer Awareness Month


Starting Wednesday, November 16, the June E. Nylen Cancer Center along with the National Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA) will promote “Shine A Light On Lung Cancer Awareness”. This is a national campaign to educate the community on the importance of early detection and risk factors for lung cancer. There will be an educational display in the lobby of the cancer center as well as mini “Shine A Light” keychain flashlights, bracelets, specific information about lung cancer and information on help that is available for those diagnosed with lung cancer.

Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer in men and women in every ethnic group. It often has no symptoms until it has spread. Because of the size of the lungs, tumors can grow for a while without causing symptoms, and there also are few specialized nerves (pain receptors) in the lungs. When lung cancer symptoms do occur, they vary depending on the type of lung cancer and location and size of the tumor. Some lung cancer symptoms are similar to those of other common illnesses.

Lung cancer symptoms may include the following:

  • Coughing (most common, 50% of cases)
  • Blood in sputum (hemoptysis)
  • Shortness of breath (dyspnea)
  • Wheezing
  • Pain in the chest
  • Fatigue
  • PneumoniaCancer can also cause symptoms far from the tumor that may not be related to the cancer. Those symptoms include:
  • lack of appetite, weight loss, weakness (cancer cachexia or wasting syndrome)
  • clubbing of fingers
  • too much calcium in the blood (hypercalcemia)
  • low red blood cells (anemia)Factors that can increase your risk for lung cancer:
  • Smoking
  • Second Hand Smoke or passive smoking
  • Familial Disposition
  • Exposure to Asbestos
  • Exposure to Radon Gas
  • Prolonged exposure to air pollution from vehicles, industry, power plants, chemicals
  • History of other lung diseaseThe lung cancer CT Scan is available at the June E. Nylen Cancer Center at any time of year. This is recommended for current or former smokers between the ages of 55 and 74. If you have other lung concerns or risk factors, speak with your physician about being screened. A physician order is required. This diagnostic CT Scan can help detect early lung cancer before clinical signs or symptoms become evident. Early stage cancer can be more easily treated and more frequently cured than later-stage cancers. For those diagnosed with lung cancer, information and support is available through the Lung Cancer Alliance at 1-800-298-2436 or go to

“Annual screening with low-dose computed tomography (CT) can find lung cancers in their earliest stage when the cancer is most easily treated,” says Krista McCullough, Radiology manager at the June E. Nylen Cancer Center. “CT screening for lung cancer is a safe and non-invasive procedure with a minimal amount of radiation exposure.” The June E. Nylen Cancer Center is an American College of Radiology (ACR) designated center for lung cancer screening, meeting the highest standards in providing safe, effective diagnostic care for individuals at the highest risk for lung cancer. To questions about having a lung CT Scan, call the cancer center at 712-252-0088.

Post by Barb Flynn

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