Lung cancer may either be non-small or small cell, according to the statistics of patients who are diagnosed with this disease. This type of cancer also affects men and women, specifically those who are cigarette smokers or are exposed to second-hand smoking. According to the American Cancer Society, as of 2015, the new cases of this cancer type has totalled to 221,200, and a higher percentage affected are men. As much as 158,040 of people with this diseases have died during that year. In fact, 27 percent of deaths caused by cancer are due to this disease every year.
The Basics on Lung Cancer
The disease is most common among older adults or the elderly. At least 2 out of every 3 individuals who are suffering from this ailment are about 65 years of age or older. There are less lung cancer patients who are under 45 years old, and most often, patients remain undiagnosed until they are 70. Hence, the disease is already at its advanced stage, which makes it more difficult to address and treat.
Statistics also show that there is a higher chance of surviving cancer, depending on the stage of the disease. The earlier the diagnosis, the more effective the treatment process becomes for the patient. Over 400,000 lung cancer survivors are still alive at this point because of early diagnosis and treatment done.
Understanding the Risk Factors
There are some factors that put a person at risk of this disease. For instance, smoking cigarettes increases an individual’s susceptibility to acquiring lung cancer. This is proven by the current statistics that 80 percent of all deaths due to this disease is attributed to smoking tobacco. Interestingly, pipe and cigar smoking are greater risk factors than cigarettes. Contrary to what several people think, even low-tar cigarettes are as harmful as regular cigarette varieties.
Second-hand smoke is another risk factor of this ailment, which is also known as environmental tobacco smoking. Inhalation of harmful and toxic substances released into the air by smokers can lead to lung cancer. Over 7,000 deaths each year are reported, and these are associated with second-hand smoke.
Be sure to have your home tested in terms of radon levels present in it. Breathing this gas indoors is very harmful due to the concentrated amount. Thus, you may either use a detection kit for this gas or contact the EPA for further advice on this issue with radon.
Asbestos is another substance that makes people at risk of lung cancer. Areas that are commonly contaminated with asbestos include textile plants, shipyards and mines can increase your likelihood of dying of this disease. Whether a person smokes or not, exposure to asbestos fibers can cause mesothelioma or cancer that targets the lining of the lungs.
Lastly, there are several other carcinogens present in the air including diesel exhaust, uranium, arsenic, silica, nickel compounds, mustard gas, beryllium, vinyl chloride and cadmium. By limiting or avoiding exposure to these elements, you can reduce your chances of developing this disease over time.