According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is the second most common cancer, not counting skin cancer, in both men and women. For men, it is the second most common cancer after prostate cancer. However, lung cancer is by far the leading cause of cancer death for both sexes. About 1 in 4 cancer deaths are from lung cancer, and more people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined.

Lung Cancer FAQs
You don’t have to be a part of these startling statistics. Learn about your risks and how to minimize your chances of developing lung cancer.

Who is most at-risk for developing lung cancer? Here are the major contributors:
Smoking: Smoking tobacco is the number one risk factor for lung cancer. About 90% of the lung cancer cases in the U.S. are linked to cigarettes. Smoking cigars and pipes are also linked to lung cancer.

Secondhand smoke: Breathing in smoke from other people’s cigarettes can be just as dangerous to your health. Be especially careful of cigarette smoke while indoors or in the car.

Family History: Like other forms of cancer, lung cancer can be hereditary. Know your family history and share this information with your primary care provider.

Environmental Exposure: Contact with harmful substances such as asbestos, radon, heavy metals, traffic exhaust, and other chemical can increase your risk.

Bottom line, if you currently smoke, seek cessation help and support immediately. If you don’t smoke, be aware of potentially dangerous situations with secondhand smoke.

What are the common symptoms of lung cancer?
Lung cancer symptoms may appear differently from one individual to another, but look out for: a cough that won’t go away, shortness of breath, hoarseness, dull, aching or persistent chest pain, coughing up blood, and frequent lung infections, such as bronchitis or pneumonia.

What screenings are there for lung cancer?
At-risk patients between the ages of 55 and 80 can be screened for lung cancer. The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recommends yearly screening for people in this age group who have a history of smoking at least 30 packs of cigarettes in a year, and who currently smoke or have quit smoking within the past 15 years. The screening involves a computed tomography (CT) scan and is associated with improved survival rate from lung cancer.

What are the numbers for lung cancer among minorities?
African Americans are disproportionately affected by lung cancer. The percentage of African American men diagnosed with lung cancer each year is 30% higher than among white men, even though they have similar rates of smoking. African Americans also tend to be diagnosed with lung cancer at a younger age. This may be due to a combination of genetic factors and the type of cigarettes that individuals smoke.

Among the Hispanic population, the overall rates for lung cancer are more optimistic. According to the National Cancer Institute, the number of lung cancer diagnoses among Hispanics is about half of the number for non-Hispanic whites in the U.S. From 2000-2009, the number of cases for Hispanic males declined at a faster rate than non-Hispanic white men. Generally, the Latino community is less likely to smoke or be daily cigarette smokers. Still, lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer death among Hispanic men, as it does for all men.

Your best bet for reducing your lung cancer risk is to quit smoking.

Please call Neighborhood Health Association at 419.255.7883 to book your appointment, and visit us at www.nhainc.org.