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Is lung cancer misunderstood?

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http://www.cybernoon.com/DisplayArticle ... healthnews

BY A STAFF REPORTER | Monday, April 10, 2006 11:37:56 IST

It’s a top killer nationwide, but lung cancer is still a greatly misunderstood disease

Lung cancer kills more people than any other kind of cancer.

Lung cancer is the most common fatal cancer in both men and women. Each year, lung cancer kills more people than colon, breast and prostate cancers combined.

Ten percent to 15 percent of lung cancer patients have never smoked.

Although smokers are much more likely than nonsmokers to develop lung cancer, many lung cancer patients are nonsmokers. Other risk factors include secondhand smoke in the home or workplace or exposure to carcinogens such as asbestos, radon gas or arsenic. Studies have also shown that a family history of lung cancer can increase an individual's risk. Family members may share habits such as smoking, they may live in a common environment where carcinogens are present, or they may possess a genetic inheritance that makes them more

susceptible to lung cancer. Lung cancer in non-smokers is more common in women

than in men.

Lung cancer is more common in developed countries.

Lung cancer is more common in developed countries. Although lung cancer occurs worldwide, people in developed countries are more likely to be diagnosed with the disease. A number of factors may contribute to this disparity, including levels of air pollution and an increasingly sedentary lifestyle.

Race may be a factor in developing lung cancer.

Research shows that among smokers, lung cancer is more common among certain ethnicities. African-Americans and native Hawaiians are 55 percent more likely than Caucasians to develop lung cancer. The risk to Latinos and Japanese-Americans is roughly 50 percent less than to Caucasians.

It's difficult to diagnose lung cancer in its earliest stages.

The high mortality rate for lung cancer is due in part to the fact that so many patients are not diagnosed until their cancer has reached an advanced stage. Early symptoms can include a persistent cough, chest pain, shortness of breath or prolonged respiratory infections like pneumonia or bronchitis. Often, however, there are no obvious symptoms during lung cancer's earliest phase.

Non-smokers too get lung cancer!

Experts say it may take the illness and death of Dana Reeve, widow of actor Christopher Reeve, to finally swing attention to lung cancer's grim toll on women -- even women who, like Reeves, never smoked. Many women diagnosed with lung cancer each year never used tobacco. And for unknown reasons nonsmoking women are more likely to develop a lung malignancy than nonsmoking men.

Reeve's death also highlights the fact that people don't have to smoke to get this disease. In fact, one in five women who develop lung cancer have never smoked -- the figure is about half that for men. The problem of lung cancer among women is not well-recognized by the public. Lung cancer surpassed breast cancer as the leading cause of cancer deaths in women in 1987 and it remains the leading cancer killer. For women, that's more than breast, ovarian and uterine cancer deaths combined. And lung cancer kills more people than colon, breast and prostate cancer.

Other factors besides smoking can predispose individuals to lung cancer, such as radiation exposure, asbestos exposure and exposure to secondhand smoke or other environmental causes. In addition, scientists suspect that lung cancer has a genetic component, too. While lung malignancies do differ between men and women, the disease is generally not more aggressive in women than it is in men, every tumor in every single individual is different, and so you cannot make a blanket assessment about aggressiveness.

Both experts said there's no effective, accepted screening test for lung cancer. The result: Most cancer is diagnosed in an advanced stage when it is exceedingly tough to treat. An accurate early detection test would mean earlier diagnosis and, for many patients, a more

optimistic prognosis.

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There is finally starting to be a mvement to educate General Public about the Facts Of lung cancer. Always good to see activism. Laurie Fenton of Lung Cancer Alliance was on Fox8 this morning at BIO2006 advocating. Thanks for sharing the article. didn't know some of that info.

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Cancer recently surpassed heart disease as the top killer of people under the age of 85 in the U.S. Which means LUNG CANCER is the top killer, of course.

The hype about "winning the war on cancer" unfortunately does not apply to lung cancer.

- Teresa

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