Lung cancer causes more deaths in men and women than any other cancer. In 2015 alone, 291 lives were taken in North Dakota due to lung cancer.
November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, and the American Lung Association reports that there is a critically low sense of awareness and screenings for lung cancer.
Robert Moffitt, the spokesperson for the American Lung Association in North Dakota, explained how he believes people view individuals with lung cancer different because it is generally related to smoking.
“There is a stigma around lung cancer in which some people think that the individual is getting what they deserve,” Moffitt said. “We have done a good job with other cancer awareness but there needs to be more awareness with lung cancer.”
Screenings for lung cancer are recommended and covered by Medicare and most healthcare providers at no cost. Despite risks, 41 percent of current and former smokers are not planning on getting screened for lung cancer.
“The toll lung cancer takes on our families, friends and neighbors in North Dakota and across the nation is truly devastating,” Moffitt said. “With the availability of lung cancer screening, we have the opportunity to find the disease earlier and save lives. However, to make this lifesaving opportunity a reality, we must do more to raise awareness of both lung cancer and screening.”
Robert Moffitt stressed multiple times how individuals — especially high-risk individuals — need to be screened.
“Lung cancer is very insidious and rarely shows any signs, that is why the death rate is so high,” Moffitt said.
Moffitt wants to encourage North Dakota State students to speak out about lung cancer and ways to identify and treat it. He would love to see events for lung cancer awareness to happen during the month of November in support or the cause. For more information about lung cancer and lung cancer awareness month go to lungcanceralliance.org.