November includes notable holidays like Veterans Day and is also Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Each year, Veterans Day falls on November 11th. This holiday recognizes veterans and the many ways they have served their country. During service, members of the armed forces face many risks. Some soldiers suffer injuries or give their lives for their country. Other hidden risks they face include exposure to pollutants and harmful substances, like asbestos. Many of these substances may later lead to lung cancer, mesothelioma and other diseases.
November is also Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Veterans are 25% more likely to get a lung cancer diagnosis than the general population. Raising awareness about this cancer can help support veterans and their health.
What Is the History of Veterans Day?
Veterans Day began in 1938 as Armistice Day, which marked the end of World War I on November 11th. Armistice Day recognized the veterans who fought in that war. In 1954, Congress renamed the holiday Veterans Day to honor all veterans and their sacrifices.
It is a federal holiday and a day of speeches and official observance activities. Most prominent is the national ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. Many communities across America also have ceremonies, barbeques and other gatherings for this day.
On Veterans Day, Americans recognize the patriotism, bravery and sacrifices of soldiers. During military service, soldiers face many risks. One of these risks is exposure to harmful chemicals and substances. Exposure can have long-term consequences for veterans. One way to support veterans is to raise awareness about the long-term health risks they face.
Elevated Lung Cancer Risk for Veterans
Veterans have a higher risk than the general public for various diseases, including lung cancer. Lung cancer is already the leading cause of all cancer deaths in the United States. For veterans, the risk of a lung cancer diagnosis is 25% higher.
Camp Lejeune Water Contamination
One high-risk area is Camp Lejeune, a Marine Corps Base in North Carolina. From 1953 to 1987, some of its water sources had hazardous chemical contamination.
This chemical contamination is linked to various diseases, including lung cancer. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 may allow affected veterans to take legal action and seek compensation.
Smoking is perhaps the best-known cause of diseases like lung cancer. But soldiers often experience occupational exposure to carcinogens. For example, exposure to asbestos and certain chemicals may also lead to lung cancer. Some veterans may have been stationed in or deployed to high-risk areas for carcinogen exposure.
Some veterans may not realize they faced these potential exposure risks. Raising awareness about related diseases, like lung cancer, may help veterans seek support.
Supporting Veterans During Lung Cancer Awareness Month
Lung Cancer Awareness Month also takes place in November. This observance aims to educate and unite people against lung cancer.
Lung Cancer Awareness Month emphasizes the importance of early screenings in particular. These screenings may be valuable to veterans who are at risk of lung cancer. Screenings may catch diseases in the early stages, which can lead to more treatment options and a favorable prognosis.
The American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE organizes Lung Cancer Awareness Month. They recommend getting involved by:
- Donating to research and treatment advances against lung cancer
- Helping to raise awareness and educate others with social media posts
- Joining meetups for patients or gatherings in local communities
- Learning about lung cancer screenings
- Reviewing the annual State of Lung Cancer Report, released on November 15th
Awareness about lung cancer may help veterans receive medical care sooner. Seeking healthcare is an important first step for many. These holidays in November help honor veterans and raise awareness of the risks they may face.