“Each year, approximately 2,000 Albertans will find out they have lung cancer, which is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the leading cause of cancer death. My thoughts are with these Albertans and their families this Lung Cancer Awareness Month.

Lung cancer can start anywhere in the lungs when abnormal cells grow unchecked, and the cancer can spread to the lymph nodes and other parts of the body.

“There are many causes of lung cancer, including exposure to harmful substances like asbestos and radon gas, but smoking remains the largest single risk factor for developing lung cancer.

“More than eight out of 10 lung cancers are caused by smoking, and the risk increases the longer you smoke and the more you smoke each day. And although it is unclear of their connection to cancer, smoking cannabis and vaping can both significantly damage the lungs. 

“Research has indicated that about 83 per cent of lung cancer cases in Alberta are linked to factors we can change. To find out more about how you can prevent lung cancer, visit healthiertogether.ca. In addition to preventing and treating lung cancer, we must also address the negative stigma towards those who develop this disease by meeting them with compassion and understanding.

“If you or someone you know is considering or ready to quit smoking, Alberta Quits provides free personalized support, information and inspiration to assist with the journey. When you’re ready, call 1-866-710-QUIT (7848) for confidential support from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week, or text ABQUITS to 123456.

“It is never too late to cut down or quit smoking to reduce your chances of getting lung cancer. It’s a choice you and your loved ones will never regret.”