City of Hope has an important message during Lung Cancer Awareness Month
Think you know the story behind lung cancer? It’s something that affects older smokers. And the prognosis isn’t typically hopeful. Right?
Not exactly. The face of lung cancer may be surprising, along with the prognosis--which is why City of Hope Orange County is joining with The White Ribbon Project to change the lung cancer story. The truth is anyone with lungs can get lung cancer.
First, let’s separate lung cancer facts from fiction. It’s not exclusively a “smoker’s disease.” Although smokers and those exposed to secondhand smoke are at high risk, it can impact anyone at just about any age. Also, lung cancer is the second most common cancer in Orange County, where only seven percent of adults smoke cigarettes.
Now for the good news. Mortality rates from the most common lung cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, have fallen sharply in the United States in recent years, due primarily to recent advances in treatment and the availability of early detection.
November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month and City of Hope Orange County is addressing lung cancer incidence in our community and educating residents about available resources for prevention, early detection, and highly specialized lung cancer care.
White ribbons — the lung cancer awareness movement symbol — are on display on the Wishing Trees at each of our four Orange County locations in Huntington Beach, Irvine Sand Canyon, Newport Beach Fashion Island, and Newport Beach Lido. Wishing Trees are a City of Hope hallmark, reminding all who see them of our commitment to turn hope into reality for people facing cancer.
Lung cancer education and advocacy is vital, experts say.
“Lung cancer is a leading cause of cancer mortality in several of our region’s diverse and fast-growing populations, many of whom may have difficulty overcoming sociodemographic barriers to highly specialized cancer care,” says Edward S. Kim, M.D., M.B.A, City of Hope Orange County’s physician-in-chief. “Understanding and addressing those barriers is essential to achieving the healthier future we all want for Orange County.”
Additionally, City of Hope wants to educate those who may not know they are at risk. “You can take action to reduce some of the risk factors for lung cancer, but other factors, like age and genetic mutations you inherit from your parents, are beyond your control,” says Danny Nguyen, M.D., a medical oncologist and hematologist who treats patients at City of Hope Huntington Beach and City of Hope Irvine Sand Canyon. “I have patients in their 30s and 40s who have been diagnosed with lung cancer despite having never smoked.”
Grateful patient Dori Neuman attests to the lifesaving benefits of detecting lung cancer early. Her tumor was revealed by a scan more than 15 years ago when she participated in City of Hope's trial of a breakthrough technology that has since become the gold standard of lung screening.
“To anyone who used to smoke, or still smokes, or anyone who has found themselves around secondhand smoke or experiences symptoms of lung cancer, I encourage you to ask your doctor about LDCT lung cancer screening,” Neuman says. “It changed my lung cancer story, and it might change yours.”
Learn more about City of Hope’s lifesaving lung cancer screening program and our world-renowned lung experts.