November is lung cancer awareness month and I am adding my voice and experience to help raise awareness and funding for this often ignored disease.
As many of you know, in 2016, I had a persistent dry cough. I didn’t think much of it, but after a visit to my pulmonologist and a few tests, I was shocked when I was told of my lung cancer diagnosis. I had always thought lung cancer was only a smoker’s disease.
In fact, up to 20 percent of people who are diagnosed with lung cancer have never smoked. Other risk factors include exposure to radon gas, secondhand smoke, asbestos, radiation, certain organic chemicals, air pollution, diesel exhaust and certain metals (arsenic chromium). A family history and genetic risk factors may also play a role in the development of lung cancer.
Common symptoms of lung cancer include recurring respiratory infections, an enduring cough, aches or pains in shoulders, back or chest, shortness of breath, hoarseness or wheezing, exhaustion, weakness and loss of appetite. A bloody cough is also common.
Although I have retired from medicine to focus on my health, my personal mission and hope is to make our community aware of the causes and risk factors for developing lung cancer. I am currently undergoing treatment at Hunterdon Regional Cancer Center, but my mission in this month and every month is to increase awareness, especially in nonsmokers and to raise money to support lung cancer research.
Please support my efforts by making a tax deductible donation of $25 or more today. Together, we WILL make a difference!