Lung cancer takes the lives of more Americans each year than breast, prostate, colon, liver, and kidney cancers combined. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States and Michigan.
In fact, the American Cancer Society estimates that in 2006 there will be 6,240 new cases of lung cancer and 5,810 lung cancer deaths in Michigan.
Smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer. More than ninety five percent of lung cancers that occur among current smokers were found to be a result of smoking.
Non-smokers who breathe second-hand smoke have an increased risk of developing lung cancer. Non-smoking spouses of smokers have a 30 percent greater risk of developing lung cancer than do spouses of non smokers.
Other factors that increase an individual’s risk of developing lung cancer include:
o Increasing age
o A person history of lung cancer
o Exposure to asbestos or other specific cancer-causing agents in the workplace or environment.
Although most lung cancers do not cause symptoms until they have spread, any of the following symptoms should be reported to your doctor. Often these problems are caused by something other than cancer. But if lung cancer is found, prompt treatment could extend your life and relieve your symptoms.
o A cough that does not go away
o Chest pain, often made worse by deep breathing
o Weight loss and loss of appetite
o Blood or rust-colored sputum (spit of phlegm)
o Shortness of breath
o Recurring infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia
o New onset of wheezing
The best way to prevent lung cancer is not to smoke and to avoid people who do. Free smoking cessation resources are available to help people quit for good.
1) Telephone Services
o Michigan Tobacco Quit Line: 1-800-480-QUIT
o National Cancer Institute: 1-800-4-CANCER
2) Online Services
o National Cancer Institute’s Live Help: www.cancer.gov
o American Lung Association’s Freedom from Smoking Program: www.lungusa.org
o Try-To-Stop Resource: www.trytostop.org
o Quit Net – Quit All Together: www.quitnet.com
o Tobacco cessation resource materials, including the Michigan Smoker’s Quit Kit and the Expectant Mother’s Quit Kit, are available through the Health Promotion’s Clearinghouse online at www.hpclearinghouse.org or by calling 1-800-537-5666.
o The Michigan Providers Tobacco Tool Kit is available through the Michigan Cancer Consortium’s website at http://www.michigancancer.org/ WhatWeDo/tob-providerstoolkit.cfm.
Every year, smokers across the nation take part in the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout by smoking less or quitting for the day. This year’s event will be held on November 16, 2006.
The event challenges people to stop using tobacco and raise awareness of the many effective ways to quit for good. For more information about the Great American Smokeout, please visit www.cancer.org.