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Charlotte Libov

Miami Women's Health Examiner

Charlotte is a heart surgery survivor-turned women’s health expert. She pens award-winning books, guests frequently on television and radio programs, and is a nationally known speaker. She’ll empower you to take charge of your health. Reach her at sobechar@yahoo.com.

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John Updike latest celebrity to die of lung cancer

Add a Comment January 27, 4:03 PM

by Charlotte Libov, Miami Women's Health Examiner

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(AP Photo/file)John Updike's death at 76 from lung cancer is the latest in a list of famous Americans who succumbed to the disease. In the past few years, other luminaries have succumbed, most recently Paul Newman, who died in September at the age of 83, and Peter Jennings, who died at 67 in 2006. Other celebrities who died from lung cancer include Jimmy Dorsey, John Wayne, Duke Ellington, Bette Grable, and Yul Brenner.

Lung cancer is one of the most deadliest forms of cancer that there is. Consider these facts:

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S.

Lung cancer causes 30% of all cancer deaths

Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer among Caucasions, African-Americans, Asians and Hispanic males

Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer of women

Lung cancer will kill more people this year than breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, liver cancer, kidney cancer and melanoma -- combined!

Yet, compared to funding for other forms of cancer, lung cancer research is woefully underfunded, when compared to other forms of the disease. Perhaps because it is so strongly linked with smoking, people often blame the victims for giving the disease to themselves. However, that is unfair. Consider these facts:

While it's true that some 80-90% of lung cancer is due to smoking, that leaves a large number of non-smokers who get it. Dana Reeve, Christopher Reeve's widow, was a non-smoker who died of the disease; so did comedian Andy Kaufman.

Of the estimated 215,020 people who will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year (114,690 men, 100,330 women), about half will be ex-smokers. Many, like Peter Jennings, will have quit smoking 20 years earlier!

Hopefully, under the Obama administration, more funding will be allocated for cancer research, lung cancer included.

For more articles on this topic, see:

John Updike's death shows need for lung cancer screening

John Updike, Pulitzer Prize Winner, dies at age 76

John Updike: One of his last publications was about Mars

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