High Profile Lung Cancer Cases Serve as Reminder

By: Ali Gorman, R.N.
By: Ali Gorman, R.N.

Reeves says she is not a smoker. But 87 percent of lung cancer cases are a result of smoking. Lung cancer is the number one cancer-killer of both men and women.

Lung cancer typically doesn't present with early signs and symptoms, so often by the time someone is diagnosed the cancer may have already spread and the chances of surviving are slim.

In fact, according to the American Lung Association, the five-year survival rate for lung cancer is 15 percent. Compare that to 63 percent for colon cancer, 88 percent for breast cancer and 99 percent for prostate cancer.

Experts say the best detection tool is a Spiral Cat Scan, but this technology is not used for routine screening due to cost and lack of evidence that it finds lung cancer tumors early enough to make a difference.

Oncologists say that could change in the future, but for now more research, prevention and funding is needed.

If you'd like information on local smoking cessation programs, visit the American Cancer Society'sWeb site at www.cancer.org or call 1-800-ACS-2345. Or you can call the American Lung Association at 1-800-548-8252.

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