Many cancer awareness organizations deemed last month as Lung Cancer Awareness Month; this year lung cancer will claim the lives of over 100,000 Americans. In spite of such statistics, lung cancer often goes unrealized until it has reached an advanced level, making it difficult to treat. We’d like to encourage people to educate themselves and others to increase their awareness of lung cancer and related diseases such as mesothelioma, a cancer caused by asbestos exposure that affects thousands each year and is one of the most painful cancers and most difficult lung cancers to treat.

Doctors face difficulties in diagnosing any lung cancer, as there is no established screening process like the ones that exist for breast and prostate cancer diagnosis. Mesothelioma diagnoses are even more difficult to make due the long latency period and aggressive nature of the disease. Mesothelioma is generally directly associated with occupational and environmental asbestos exposure and although it is more commonly diagnosed in men over the age of 50, it has been discovered that more women and younger people have been exposed to second-hand asbestos, and they are at risk for a mesothelioma diagnosis as well.

We encourage all individuals who have been exposed to asbestos in their lifetime – whether occupationally, second-hand, or environmentally – to speak with their doctors about their exposure. The earlier a mesothelioma diagnosis is made, the greater number of treatment options are available. In addition, we urge you to participate in the many rallies and fundraisers throughout the year in support of lung cancer research and treatment. Building awareness will save lives; there are still a few days left to participate and build lung cancer awareness in your community.