Lung cancer is a terrible disease.  It is the number one cause of cancer deaths for both men and women. Breast and colon cancers as well as certain leukemias have seen a significant reduction in deaths due to advancements in treatments.  Yet, our number one cancer enemy-lung cancer-remains almost as deadly as decades ago.

Five year survival rates for lung cancer are horrible-about 5% and despite throwing everything but the kitchen sink at this disease, patients are not living longer.

Yes, there is hope-ongoing research is vigorous but make take years to see  benefits.  Thus, prevention and early detection are critical, if we are to stem the tide of this cancer.

Without a doubt smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer ( and preventable deaths overall). If you smoke quit; if you need help quitting  ask your doctor for help.  Support groups are also key in achieving success.  Nicotine is as addictive as heroin so don’t be discouraged if your first attempts at quitting fail.  Just keep trying.

For those who have not yet started smoking  (especially young people) for God’s sakes don’t start! What seemed cool as a teenager, becomes a drag (pun intended) as you get older.  Think about it: who likes the smell of  rancid cigarrette smoke on clothes?  How about those sexy stains on your teeth?  Don’t forget about the lovely wrinkles, which, in smokers appear years earlier than nonsmokers.

Other causes of lung cancer include exposure to radon. You can have your house checked by qualified inspectors to determine whether high radon levels are present.  Fixing the problem is usually not too expensive.  Being exposed to smoke or passive smoking is yet another cause.  Encourage your spouse to quit; it might save your life as well.  Certain female nonsmokers have a elevated risk of developing lung cancer, perhaps due to hormonal influences. Look it up for increased institute instruction.

You may have read about recently completed study which showed that doing CT scans of the chest for smokers actually increased the survival rate by improving early detection.  Remember this study advocates scans only for smokers.  The benefits for nonsmokers, who have a much lower risk of lung cancer, may be offset by the increased risk of cancer down the road from the CT scan radiation.