Work Well

Work Well advocates for a culture of wellness for UND faculty and staff through innovative engagement opportunities.

November Wellness Spotlight

Lung Cancer Awareness MonthFree Vector | Flat lung cancer awareness month illustration

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death and the second most common cancer in the United States, affecting both men and women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Each year, there are over 218,000 people in the United States diagnosed with lung cancer, and 149,000 people die from this disease. Although, if caught in the early stages, there is a high cure rate. This Wellness Spotlight includes information about who is at risk, symptoms of lung cancer, how to prevent it, as well as North Dakota smoking statistics.

What puts Someone at Risk?

  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Being exposed to secondhand smoke
  • Being exposed to radon
  • Family history of lung cancer

Symptoms of Lung Cancer

  • Coughing that is persistent, and will not stop
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing up blood
  • Feeling tired most of the time
  • Weight loss with no cause
  • Loss of appetite


Don’t SmokeDont Smoke Images - Free Download on Freepik

Smoking cigarettes is the number one risk factor for developing lung cancer, according to the CDC. Smoking cigarettes is linked to about 80-90% of lung cancer deaths. People who smoke cigarettes are 15 to 30 times more likely to get lung cancer and potentially die from this cancer in comparison to those who do not smoke. Along with this, using other tobacco products can increase the risk for lung cancer. The best way to approach preventing lung cancer is to not start smoking or quit if you currently do.

Secondhand Smoke

Inhaling smoke from other people’s cigarettes, pipes, or cigars can also cause lung cancer, as mentioned by the CDC. Those who are exposed have a 20-30% increased risk of390+ Passive Smoking Illustrations, Royalty-Free Vector Graphics & Clip Art - iStock | Smoking issues, Smoke, Anti smoking getting lung cancer. It can also cause other health issues such as increased ear infections for children, health issues for unborn babies, and wheezing, coughing, or shortness of breath. To prevent the dangers of secondhand smoke, make your home and car a smoke-free environment. It is best to also avoid areas where others are smoking.


Radon is a naturally occurring gas that forms in rocks, soil, and water. It cannot be seen or smelled in any way. When you breathe in radon has, it can get trapped in yourDanger Of Radioactive Contamination From Radon Gas Concept With Warning Symbol Of Radioactivity On Road Sign Image With Copy Space Stock Photo - Download Image Now - iStock lungs. Over time, this can lead to developing cancer. It can get into homes and go undetected. One in every fifteen homes have high levels of radon. This can be very dangerous as it is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, as noted by the CDC. The U.S Environmental Protection Agency estimates that radon causes about 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year. To help with this issue, it is advised that all homes be tested for radon. It is recommended to buy a radon test kit to check the levels of radon in your home.

For information on how to test your home for radon, click here

Who should be Screened?

The Mayo Clinic recommends lung cancer screening for those who are:

  • Older adults who are current or former smokers
  • People who have smoked heavily for many years
  • People who have smoked heavily but quit
  • People who have a history of lung cancer
  • Those with a family history of lung cancer

North Dakota Smoking Rates

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Below you will find statistics on how North Dakota’s smoking rates compare to the national rates of smoking.

  • As of 2021, 15% of adults 18+ currently smoke cigarettes in North Dakota
    • As of 2021, 11.5% of adults in the United States smoke cigarettes
  • As of 2021, 5.9% of High School Students smoke cigarettes in North Dakota
    • As of 2022, 2.0% of High School Students in the United States smoke cigarettes

Read about North Dakota Tobacco Prevention and Control Program Here

Read more about North Dakota compared to the U.S National Smoking Data Here


Lung Cancer Awareness Month – Stony Brook Medicine

Risk factors for Lung Cancer – CDC

Lung Cancer Screening – Mayo Clinic