Lung Cancer Awareness Month Do you know the signs and symptoms?

November 15, 2019

Lung Cancer Awareness Month: Do you know the signs and symptoms?

Lung Cancer Awareness Month: Do you know the signs and symptoms?


 (Madisonville, Ky.) Nov. 15, 2019 Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer deaths worldwide, mainly because it is often diagnosed at an advanced stage according to the American Cancer Society. Kentucky has the nation’s worst rate of new lung cancer cases, and one of the lowest five-year survival rates.

The most common symptoms are shortness of breath, coughing up blood, a cough that won't go away, and chest pain.

In honor of November being Lung Cancer Awareness Month, Baptist Health Madisonville is encouraging those at greatest risk for lung cancer to get screened.

The screening is similar to an MRI, it's painless, and non-invasive. The process can be completed in less than thirty minutes, and it gives a detailed look at the lungs to see if there are any signs of cancer. Medicare and most insurance will cover the cost of the low-dose CT lung screening for people who meet these Medicare criteria:

  • You have to be between the ages of  55 to 77 years old

  • You smoked one pack a day for 30 years, or 2 packs a day for 15 years, or 3 packs a day for 10 years, or if you've actively smoked in the last 15 years.

    Heather Tow, BSN, RN, OCN, ONN-CG, Oncology Nurse Navigator with Baptist Health Madisonville, says even if you don't meet the criteria, you should still be closely monitoring your health. Especially if you are a smoker, your family has a history of lung cancer, or you have been exposed to certain carcinogens in the workplace or at home.

    “Talking about your risk level with your primary care provider is so important,” stated Tow.  “The earlier we can detect any form of cancer, the better your odds are of successful treatment.  It is also important to remember that you do not have to have been a smoker to have lung cancer.”

    If you meet the lung screening criteria, you can ask your doctor or Baptist Health Madisonville’s Merle M. Mahr Cancer Center staff to help you set up an appointment for a screening.

    Baptist Health Madisonville is planning a White Out Day, where everyone in the community is encouraged to wear white to show support for those that have or are currently battling lung cancer.  The event is scheduled for Friday, November 22. 

    Patients, caregivers and family members are also invited to come to the Merle M. Mahr Cancer Center, located at 900 Hospital Drive in Madisonville, to paint rocks in honor or in memory of a loved one with cancer.  The rocks will be placed in front of the Cancer Center during a special ceremony called Survivors Rock at 3 pm on Tuesday, November 26.

    Curious what your risk level is for lung cancer?  Take an online health-risk assessment at