Only 1% of Women Know This About Lung Cancer
Lung cancer seems to be a silent epidemic. More than 224,000 Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year. The five-year survival rate is only 16-18%, one of the lowest survival rates for cancer. Among women diagnosed with lung cancer, less than half will be alive in one year. Yet more than half of women surveyed incorrectly think that breast cancer kills more women. In the American Lung Association’s Women’s Health Barometer, a survey of 1,000 women, only 1% identified lung cancer as a “top-of-mind” cancer affecting women. The fact is, lung cancer is the number one cancer killer of women (and men, too).
While new cases of lung cancer have dropped by 35% in men over the past 35 years, they’ve doubled in women.
Anyone can get lung cancer. Smoking is a leading cause of lung cancer, but about 10% of cases occur in nonsmokers. Other factors include genetics, air pollution, and exposure to secondhand smoke or radon.
- shortness of breath, wheezing
- chest pain
- coughing that doesn’t get better, coughing up blood
- weight loss
There are different types of lung cancer. Treatment depends on the type and the stage at diagnosis. If you have signs of lung cancer, see your doctor as quickly as possible. In general, early diagnosis and treatment results in a better prognosis.
How can you reduce your risk of developing lung cancer? Here are some tips from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Don’t smoke. Cigarette smoking causes about 90% of lung cancer deaths in the United States. The most important thing you can do to prevent lung cancer is to not start smoking, or to quit if you smoke.
- Avoid secondhand smoke. Smoke from other people’s cigarettes, cigars, or pipes is called secondhand smoke. Make your home and car smoke-free.
- Get your home tested for radon. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends that all homes be tested for radon.
- Be careful at work. Health and safety guidelines in the workplace can help workers avoid carcinogens—things that can cause cancer.
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