Take steps to fight lung cancer

Published 11:30 pm Friday, November 18, 2016

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month.

Beaufort County has one of the highest rates of cancer in eastern North Carolina, and unfortunately, lung cancer is a “big one” in this tobacco-driven, agricultural area.

However, one doesn’t have to be a smoker to acquire lung cancer. It is also caused by exposure to secondhand smoke or radiation, exposure to toxic substances, such as asbestos and tar, living in a polluted area, having HIV and/or having a family history of it.

Lung cancer is the second most common type of cancer, followed only by female breast cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute.

The institute expects there to be a total of 224,390 cases nationwide in 2016, which accounts for 13.3 percent of all new cancer cases.

Some of the symptoms include: chest discomfort or pain; chronic cough; trouble breathing and wheezing; blood in mucus; loss of appetite; feeling excessively tired; trouble swallowing; unexplained weight loss; hoarseness; and swelling in the face or neck veins.

After reading all of this, the common reaction is likely fear. However, unless there is voluntary exposure to the harmful elements listed above, there is no need to be afraid. Channel that fear into being proactive.

The best way to combat lung cancer is to take control of one’s health, whether that means kicking cigarettes to the curb, or keeping a close watch on one’s health if there is a family history of cancer.

With the Marion L. Shepard Cancer Center, the Washington area and beyond has an incredible resource to fight cancer, but it’s important to be proactive before it gets to that point.

Yes, lung cancer is a dangerous disease, but it should not be a cause of fear. It can’t always be prevented, but if there are voluntary risk factors, knock them out now. Beaufort County can beat lung cancer.