By Laura McDonald
November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month
Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers, and it is the most common cause of cancer death in Ontario.
Smoking is the main cause of lung cancer and it is responsible for approximately 71% of all lung cancer cases in Ontario. The more someone smokes and the longer they smoke, the greater their risk is of developing lung cancer and other cancers.
This Lung Cancer Awareness Month, learn how to reduce your risk and how to protect yourself.
Reduce Your Risk:
The most important thing that people can do to lower their risk of lung cancer is to avoid smoking commercial tobacco products (cigarettes and cigars) and avoid exposure to second-hand smoke.
When someone quits smoking, there are immediate benefits such as:
- Improved sense of taste and smell
- Within weeks, lung capacity begins to improve as damaged cells are replaced
- Decreased coughing, sinus congestion and shortness of breath
Within a few years of quitting, a smoker’s risk of lung cancer begins to decrease.
For support with quitting smoking, contact:
There are several other things that you can do to lower your risk of lung cancer, including:
Lung Cancer Screening:
Ontario now has an effective and evidence-based way to check, or screen, people who are at high risk of getting lung cancer. This means that some lung cancers can be found early when treatment has a better chance of working.
The Ontario Lung Screening Program (OLSP) is an organized lung cancer screening program that is available at the University Health Network (UHN) in downtown Toronto.
People may qualify for lung cancer screening if they:
- Are 55 to 74 years old, and
- Have smoked cigarettes every day for at least 20 years (this does not have to be 20 years in a row, which means there could be times when someone did not smoke)
To find out if you may qualify for lung cancer screening, talk to your healthcare provider, or contact the OLSP at UHN at 416-340-4154.
For more information about lung cancer screening, please visit Ontario Health (Cancer Care Ontario). If you think you have any signs or symptoms of lung cancer, speak with your health care provider.