Lung cancer is the most common type of cancer
in the U.S., with approximately 172,000 new cases diagnosed annually.
Over 60% of
new lung cancers are diagnosed in people who never smoked or who
quit smoking decades prior to diagnosis. Recent studies indicate
that female smokers may be more likely to develop lung cancer than
smokers. The number of lung cancer deaths among women surpasses
those from breast cancer.
Factors that may increase your risk
of developing lung cancer include personal and family history
of lung cancer, environmental
carcinogens, smoking and second hand smoke. Studies also show that
a woman’s body is more susceptible to cancer-causing substances
than a man’s body.
Tobacco smoke causes more than eight out of 10 cases of lung cancer,
which makes it the leading risk factor. The longer you smoke and
the more packs per day, the greater the risk.
Asbestos, radon, air pollution, tuberculosis,
certain types of pneumonia, and a poor diet can also increase your
risk for lung
Warning signs associated with lung cancer include persistent cough,
shortness of breath, hoarseness, chest pain, coughing up blood,
and recurrent bronchitis or pneumonia. If you have any of these
symptoms it is important to see your physician for a complete medical
exam and diagnostic testing.
Most people with early stage lung cancer do
not have any symptoms, thus only a small percentage of lung cancers
are discovered in the early
stages. When lung cancer is found early, it is often because of
tests being done for an unrelated health issue. Early detection
of lung cancer can make a difference in treatment and recovery.
The best way to prevent lung cancer is not to smoke and to avoid
second hand smoke. If you already smoke, the sooner you quit, the
better. Even if you have been smoking for many years, it's never
too late to benefit from quitting.
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