Last week, we had a little fun with Tell a Joke Day. Today, we’re getting a little more serious for National Got Checked Day. It takes place every year on August 26th. It’s here to raise awareness to get checked for breast cancer, which we fully support.
We’re also here to remind folks to get their lung health checked. Early detection of lung disease can help increase the chances of positive outcomes and quality of life.
Source: American Lung Association (Saved By The Scan: A Hope Story :60 – YouTube)
Signs of Lung Disease
- Cough lasting longer than 8 weeks
- Shortness of breath that doesn’t go away after exercise
- Chest tightness
- Coughing up mucus or phlegm for a month or longer
- Wheezing or noisy breathing
- Unexplained chest pain
- Coughing up blood
Signs of Lung Cancer
In addition to some of the signs above, additional signs may include:
- Feeling very tired all the time
- Weight loss with no known cause
- Repeated bouts of pneumonia
- Swollen or enlarged lymph nodes inside the chest area in between the lungs
If you experience any of these signs, talk with your doctor as soon as possible. Early detection may save your life.
Lung Cancer Screening
Did you know that lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer related deaths? The good news: the chance of surviving 5 years or longer improves by 60% if lung cancer is detected early.
Screening recommendations changed in 2021. If you tried before and told you weren’t eligible, you may now be. The new recommendations are:
- Those aged 50-80
- Have a 20 pack-year smoking history (think 1 pack/day for 20 years, 2 pack/day for 10 years, etc.)
- Currently smoke or quit within the past 15 years
Check out SavedByTheScan.Org to get more information, such as places that conduct lung cancer screening and a conversation guide to help through the appointment process.
Source: American Lung Association (Understanding Pulmonary Fibrosis – YouTube)
I or Someone I Know Has Lung Disease
- Patient & Caregiver Network: from the American Lung Association. It provides information, webcasts, support group channels, etc. for those who are living with or are a caregiver to someone with lung disease.
- Lung Helpline: call in or send a message online. Staffed nurses, respiratory therapists, and others who can help answer questions you have or even quit tobacco (if you’re ready)!
- Better Breathers Club: support group for those living with lung disease. If there’s not one in your area, consider becoming a facilitator or encourage someone else to become one.
- Lung.Training: offers courses on various lung health topics. They include Asthma Basics (English and en Español), Infectious Disease Basics, COPD Basics, and facilitator trainings to support those dealing with tobacco use, asthma, or lung disease in your community.
- Lung Force: unites those with lung cancer to stand up against lung cancer. Consider participating if you’re able.
In support of the true meaning of Got Checked Day, here’s a small sample of resources in Alaska:
- Alaska Breast and Cervical Screening Assistance Program: support for diagnostic screenings and referrals to financial assistance if treatment is needed.
- BCDC of Alaska | Mobile Mammograms & Screening Services: offers screenings in communities where it isn’t readily available.
- Alaska | American Cancer Society: provides support for cancer treatment, such as assistance with transportation and advocacy to help prevent cancer.
- Services are provided at major facilities, like ANTHC, Alaska Regional, SEARHC, Matsu Health Foundation, Arctic Slope Native Corporation, and more.