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November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month: Know the Symptoms and Lower Your Risk

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Lung cancer is the deadliest cancer world-wide. In the United States, one in thirteen men and one in sixteen women will be diagnosed.

Anyone can be diagnosed with lung cancer. People who smoke are at the greatest risk, but 10-15% of those diagnosed with lung cancer have never smoked. Smokers can significantly reduce their risk by quitting, even after many years of smoking.

Know the Symptoms

Lung cancer symptoms don't usually become apparent during the early stages of the disease. Symptoms tend to occur only when the disease is advanced.

Signs and symptoms of lung cancer may include:

· A new cough that doesn't go away

· Coughing up blood, even a small amount

· Shortness of breath

· Chest pain

· Hoarseness

· Losing weight without trying

· Bone pain

· Headache

Lower Your Risk

There is no sure way to avoid contracting lung cancer, but below are some tips on reducing your risk.

· Don't smoke. If you've never smoked, don't start. Talk to your children about not smoking and the major risk factors for lung cancer. Start conversations your children early so that they know how to react to peer pressure.

· Stop smoking. Quitting reduces your risk of lung cancer, even if you've smoked for several years. Talk to your doctor about strategies.

· Avoid secondhand smoke. Avoid areas where people smoke, such as bars and restaurants, and seek out smoke-free options.

· Test your home for radon. High radon levels can be remedied to make your home safer. For information on radon testing, contact your local department of public health or a local chapter of the American Lung Association.

· Avoid carcinogens at work. Take precautions to protect yourself from exposure to toxic chemicals at work. Wear employer-provided protection equipment such as masks, gloves, and coveralls. Ask our doctor what more you can do to stay healthy at work.

· Healthy Diet and Exercise. A healthy lifestyle can significantly reduce your chances of developing illnesses like lung cancer.

Source: 1, 2

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