When my mom died due to lung disease, interest in my own lung health began to rise, which led me to become a member of the American Lung Association's Leadership Council team for the state of Louisiana.  Never before had I realized how dangerous and how prominent lung disease was in this country.

A Smoker's Lung
( J. Wilds/Keystone/Getty Images)

Not to bore you with statistics, let's suffice it to say that lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women in US (responsible for more deaths than breast, colon and prostate cancer COMBINED!).  By the time that outright lung cancer symptoms appear, 40% of patients' cancer is already in Stage 4.

As with most things, the earlier you are aware of something, the easier it is to fix; the BEST hope for lung cancer survival is early detection.

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month:  Lourdes Cancer Network, Oncologics, Louisiana Oncology Associates, KATC and 99.9 KTDY have teamed up to give away 40 free lung cancer screenings.  Free.  All you have to do is click here to enter to win.

I went through the screening two weeks ago.  The screening process is quick, painless, and an easy 'first step' to detecting lung disease.  It is a LOW DOSE radiation CT scan (about as powerful as a dental x-ray).  I didn't have to remove any clothing, and was very comfortable laying on the table as the scan took place.  The CT machine is similar to an MRI, but not nearly as much of a 'tunnel' (it's more like a 'ring' that goes over your body).  I am relieved to say that nothing was found during my CT scan lung screening, but having been exposed to second-hand smoke and living in 'cancer alley' (not to mention breathing in all of the smoke from the burning of the sugar cane), I will be keeping a watchful eye on my lung health.  You should, too.

Register to win a free screening; if you don't win one, take it upon yourself to get one on your own.  If you are like me, you would rather know that you are healthy than to just assume you are healthy.  With lung cancer, the best hope of survival is early detection.  Get scanned, and keep yourself in the picture!


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