Smoking is the killer in approximately 90% of men and 80% of women who have died of lung cancer.
Did I tell you something new? Likely not.
But why do smokers still smoke? And why did the world fail to prevent lung cancer by stopping tobacco use?
Lung cancer is a horrible disease. It develops sneakily and rapidly. It is very difficult to detect lung cancer at early stages with current technologies. This disease is often deadly with poor prognosis once diagnosed.
Lung cancer claims an estimated 1.4 million lives each year worldwide. NCI estimated 228,190 new cases and 159,480 deaths from lung cancer (non-small cell and small cell combined) in the United States in 2013. As a result, lung cancer has changed so many people’s lives including smokers, non-smokers and their loved ones.
Paradoxically, lung cancer is one of the most preventable types of cancer. Specifically, the most important, effective preventive measures are cessation of cigarette smoking and elimination of tobacco exposure. I am sure we all want to end this tragedy. Why has the change happened?
All kinds of tobacco products including cigarettes, smokeless tobacco or pipe tobacco are addictive, hazardous and harmful. No tobacco product is safe, period. Tobacco use contributes to not only lung cancer, but also cancer of various types, cardiovascular disease, mouth problems, and other illnesses.
The number one things a person can do to prevent lung cancer is to not start smoking, or to quit if he or she currently smokes. A majority of smokers start as adolescents, most of them seek to fit in with “a crowd”. As life goes on, the crowd is gone, but the habit and damage continue. Therefore, boys and girls do not start smoking. And fit in for your long-term wellbeing. Smokers can be addicted to tobacco, which is not an excuse. For a smoker, quitting immediately can benefit yourself and make the world around you a better place. Remember: it is never too late to stop.
Non-smokers should avoid secondhand smoke by all means. Smoke exhaled from a smoker or a lit cigarette contains over 60 known carcinogens (i.e. cancer-causing agents) along with hundreds of other toxins.
Women are highly susceptible to lung cancer. Research shows that tobacco smoking may double a woman’s risk for lung cancer, because it has as twice of carcinogenic effect on a woman as on a man.
Everybody, from spouses, family members and friends, educators, doctors and nurses, to every organization, every industry, and of course, government or policy makers, can step in to prevent lung cancer especially when the cause is quite clear. We all can do something to help change the world and lives of many, many, for good.
Image credit: bestbeginningsalaska.org