World Lung Cancer Day is observed on August 1 each year. In a move to beat back occurrences of lung cancer, people around the world observe this very special day. The mission for this day is simple — raise as much awareness of lung cancer as you can, while encouraging people to screen themselves for this disease. As for why this day is so important… according to the World Health Organization, this cancer is so prevalent in the world that yearly, more people die from lung cancer than from colon, breast, and liver cancers combined. We’re not sure who the organizers of this day are, but we are certain they aimed to encourage everyone towards better outcomes and recovery from this disease.
History of World Lung Cancer Day
First described by doctors in the early 19th century, lung cancer was an extremely rare disease for a very long time. Some 150 years ago, people had only heard of this disease, and studies showed less than 1% to 2% of the population was afflicted with it. Cut to the next century, and the scenario changed completely. While still rare in the early part of the 20th century, by the end, it became the leading cause of male cancer-related deaths in more than 25 countries.
No one knew how this happened and what caused this dramatic rise. A scientifically significant handbook written in the 1930s — the Springer Handbook of Special Pathology — postulated that this rise could be a direct result of the increasingly polluted air, greater frequency of traffic, and even an increased exposure to gasses during World War I. But this handbook, like many others, could not explain why lung cancer also rose in countries without any of the above factors. Smoking was also suspected to be a factor, but no particular importance was given to studying this theory. It was only when studies conducted in the 1940s and ’50s showed hard evidence linking lung cancer to smoking that people realized the ill effects of nicotine and tobacco.
As smoking was now a recognized cause of lung cancer, many people globally did their best to quit this habit, and this widespread movement saw a gradual decline in lung cancer incidence, at least in males. Unfortunately for the world, lung cancer does not have only one cause. Long-term exposure (via air) to all carcinogenic materials — among them radon gas, uranium, and asbestos — plays a role in lung cancer development too. By the 21st century, lung cancer-related ailments were common and quickly displaced other forms of cancer on the mortality charts. With this upward trend came an increased awareness of lung cancers and their causes. Days and events like these are a major factor contributing to lung cancer research and awareness activities.
World Lung Cancer Day timeline
German physician Fritz Lickint fights against smoking in his home country after a paper he published proves a high correlation between lung cancer patients and smoking.
World Lung Cancer Day — for lung cancer awareness and overall lung care — is established on this day.
Talk show host Larry King is diagnosed with lung cancer has surgery and is back to work two weeks later.
According to official data, globally, 1.80 million people die of lung cancer while 2.21 million new cases are reported.
World Lung Cancer Day FAQs
What is the theme of World Lung Cancer Day 2021?
Each World Lung Cancer Day has the same overarching theme — raising awareness about lung cancer. However, individual organizations create their sub-themes — like Living With Lung Cancer — to further spotlight this day.
What is World Lung Day?
How to improve lung health is the core aim of World Lung Day, held each year on September 25.
What is World Lung Cancer Day and why is it important?
World Lung Cancer Day is a day to raise awareness about lung cancer, emphasizing the key risk factors as well as screening and treatment options. Lung cancer is by far the leading cause of cancer death, making up almost a quarter of all cancer deaths.
How to Observe World Lung Cancer Day
Adopt healthy habits
Avoid smoking, plant more trees around you, get air-purifying houseplants, and help others quit using tobacco products too. Do what you can to make the environment a lung-friendly one, for both you and your loved ones.
Push lung cancer screening
Know anyone with symptoms of lung cancer? Encourage them to screen for lung cancer, as recommended by experts. Lead by example and make a screening appointment for yourself too.
Join the fight against lung cancer
Check out what local cancer clinics and medical institutions have in store for this day. Contribute your way by sharing your knowledge of this day and its cause.
5 Important Facts You Need To Know About Lung Cancer
Screening is a major deterrent
According to certain bodies of cancer research, if around eight million Americans at a higher risk of lung cancer (aka those with exposure to contaminated air, etc.) got themselves screened, the U.S. would be able to save almost 25,000 lives.
Very high smoking rates after WWII
This was partly because the tobacco industry claimed tobacco was completely harmless, and physicians would appear in television advertisements to advocate smoking.
Who should be screened
According to the American Cancer Society, this list must include all current and former smokers, people over 55, and those with known exposure to toxic carcinogens.
The world's largest lung cancer conference
100 countries send more than 7,000 delegates to the World Conference on Lung Cancer (W.C.L.C.) to discuss the latest developments in all cancers related to the chest area, including lung cancers and tracheal (windpipe) cancers.
A silver lining in the U.S.
The American Cancer Society reports mortality rates have steadily been declining over the years, mainly due to advances in lung cancer treatments and growing awareness among the American public of the ill effects of smoking.
Why World Lung Cancer Day is Important
It's shining a light on lung cancer
Every activity held on this day has a common aim. That aim is to raise awareness of lung cancer, its causes, preventive measures, and options for treatments.
It's helping the people
People benefit from the increased awareness of risks. That means raising awareness about increasing early detection and saving lives in the process.
It's honoring those with lung cancer too
Apart from striving to prevent occurrences of lung cancer in the global population, World Lung Cancer Day is also an event that celebrates, honors, and commemorates every single person impacted by lung cancer. This higher awareness and increased understanding can help elevate the quality of life of many lung cancer patients.
World Lung Cancer Day dates