August 1st is World Lung Cancer Day … Share your expertise in patient care as you promote lung health. As health care providers, you undoubtedly understand the close relationship between COPD and lung cancer, but most people don’t realize the close association. COPD and lung cancer share similar symptoms like a persistent cough, shortness of breath, chronic bronchitis, or repeated episodes of pneumonia. The cross-over in symptoms between chronic lung disorders and lung cancer can contribute to the cancer going undetected until it is in an advanced stage.
This is where you come in: The frequency of home health assessment provides COPD patients with an added level of monitoring. With these consistent evaluations home health nurses can recognize symptom changes that might indicate the presence of lung cancer.
Symptoms of lung cancer: Fatigue • Loss of appetite • Unexplained weight loss • Chest pain unrelated to coughing • Hoarseness • Coughing up blood
Here are some ideas to raise lung health awareness in your community:
- Volunteer to lead a COPD support group in your community. Connecting your home care services with these groups will allow them to better understand the options available through all types of home care services.
- Distribute to your community informative brochures that list the symptoms, causes and risk factors for COPD, as well as the services your agency provides.
- Sponsor a Lunch and Learn at a local respiratory therapist’s office and introduce your agency’s services.
- Provide your referral network with informative material on effective smoking cessation options. Be sure to include your agency’s many COPD-related home health services.
- Arrange to visit local schools to provide information on lung health:
- DON’T Smoke!
- Exercise to breathe harder. When you exercise your heart beats faster and your lungs work harder which increases lung efficiency and strength.
- Avoid exposure to pollutants such as second-hand smoke, air pollution, and automobile exhaust, and have your home tested for radon.
- Stay healthy to avoid infection by washing your hands, avoiding crowds during cold & flu season, taking the flu vaccine annually, and asking your doctor if the pneumonia vaccine is right for you.
- Practice deep breathing exercises to increase lung capacity and function.
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