November marks the beginning of Lung Cancer Awareness month. This annual campaign provides awareness and information about the disease and stresses the importance of screenings and steps you can take to reduce your risks of getting lung cancer. The Middlesex County Office of Health Services is also proud to participate in the Great American Smokeout event on November 15th.
The Great American Smokeout is an annual intervention event on the third Thursday of November by the American Cancer Society. For over forty years, the event has challenged people to quit on that day or use the day to make a plan to quit. Approximately 40 million American adults still smoke, and tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of lung cancer in the country.
Not all lung cancers can be prevented. But there are things you can do that might lower your risk, such as eating a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables. The best way to reduce your risk of lung cancer, however, is not to smoke and to avoid breathing in other people’s smoke.
People who have been smoking for years often think it's too late to quit, but the good news is that reversing the health implications of smoking begins as soon as you decide to quit. Consider these statistics:
• Just 20 minutes after quitting, your blood pressure decreases.
• 8 hours after quitting, the oxygen level in the blood returns to normal.
• 24 hours after quitting, your chance of getting a heart attack has already decreased.
Those benefits continue to grow with the longer you remain smoke-free:
• 2 weeks to 3 months after quitting, your circulation improves.
• 1 to 9 months after quitting, coughing, sinus congestion, shortness of breath, and fatigue decrease.
• 1 year after quitting, your extra risk of heart disease drops to half that of a smoker, and your risk of stroke is cut in half.
• Between 5 and 15 years after quitting, your risk of stroke drops and becomes the same as nonsmokers'.
• 15 years after quitting, your risk of heart disease will be the same as that of people who have never smoked.
Quitting smoking isn’t easy. It takes time. And a plan
. You don’t have to stop smoking in one day. Start with day one. Let the Great American Smokeout event on November 15 be your day to start your journey toward a smoke-free life. You’ll be joining thousands of smokers across the country in taking an important step toward a healthier life and reducing your cancer risk.
For more information about the signs and symptoms of lung cancer and how to reduce your risk, visit one of our partners: