November is lung cancer awareness month.
Did you know, that each year, more people die of lung cancer than of breast, prostate or colon cancers combined?
Dr. Chavez, a pulmonologist at Saint Mary's wants to change that by stressing the importance of early detection.
He says by the time most people show symptoms, the cancer has already spread.
When lung cancer is caught in stage 3 or 4, he says only about 15 percent of people survive past five years.
The key is early detection.
Dr. Chavez says anyone who is between the ages of 55 to 74, has been around second hand smoke or smoked a pack or more a day should consider getting a CT scan.
The screening can run anywhere between $99 to $400 dollars, depending on where you live.
At Saint Mary's, for example, Dr. Chavez says it costs $199, but it can save your life.
"The biggest problem that we have had with lung cancer is that 75 percent of the lung cancers that we detect are in advanced stages of the disease. The mortality is very high. Now if you detect those cases in early stages, like stage one or two, then the survival actually improves to 75 percent."
As a way to shine a light on the disease, Vantage Oncology will hold a vigil Thursday evening.
That vigil will be held at Deaconess Chancellor Center for Oncology at 6 o'clock, November 14.
You'll hear personal stories from survivors.
They will be followed by a moment of reflection and lighting of glow sticks.
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