November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month and Allergy Sleep and Lung Care is offering advice on maintaining a healthy set of lungs

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Nov. 20, 2014 – With November recognized as Lung Cancer Awareness Month, the experts at Allergy Sleep and Lung Care are encouraging local residents to increase awareness preserving one’s lung health while also being aware of their risk factors and symptoms that are associated with lung cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is the second most common cancer in both men and women, excluding skin cancer. Lung cancer accounts for about 27% of all cancer deaths and is by far the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women. Each year, more people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined.

“As one of only a few organs that have direct interaction with the outside world through the air we breathe, the human lung and its delicate tissue need extra attention to ensure a long and healthy life,” says Imtiaz Ahmad, M.D., Board Certified Pulmonologist with Allergy Sleep and Lung Care. “Avoiding pollutants such as cigarette smoke, outdoor air pollution such as smog and staying away from breathing harmful chemicals can greatly decrease the risks of lung cancer.”

The Fort Myers pulmonologist also encourages a healthy knowledge of common and uncommon symptoms of lung disease. While intense and persistent coughing, chest pains and shortness of breath are widely known symptoms of lung cancer, other signs may include a loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss, bone fractures without injury and an overall feeling of fatigue or general weakness.

Usually, symptoms of lung cancer do not appear until the disease is already in an advanced, non-curable stage. Even when symptoms of lung cancer do appear, many people may mistake them for other problems, such as an infection or long-term effects from smoking. This may delay the diagnosis.

“Knowing your individual risk for lung cancer, including a history of smoking, combined with regular visits with your physician are efficient ways to make sure you are properly screened for lung cancer, if needed,” says Dr. Ahmad. “It’s important to listen to your body and speak with your physician about chest pains or breathing issues.”
Allergy Sleep and Lung Care provides lung cancer screenings using the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines.

“The NCCN guidelines recommend CT screening for lung cancer for adults between 55 and 74 years old who are current or former smokers (who quit within the past 15 years) and have a 30 pack year history (number of packs a day times the number of years of smoking),” says Dr. Ahmad. “Studies show that early detection and treatment of lung cancer leads to higher survival rates. It is crucial for the disease to be diagnosed and treated early.”

For residents looking for lung cancer screenings, Allergy Sleep and Lung Care offers CT screening, as well as a noninvasive screening to confirm a cancer diagnosis using a bronchoscopy. Examination of the airways by bronchoscopy may show areas of tumor that can be biopsied. Bronchoscopy can be performed in a same-day outpatient bronchoscopy suite.