Because of its commonly known association with smoking, lung cancer is likely one of the forms of the disease that most people could point to when they hear the word “cancer.” However, that doesn’t mean the public’s awareness about the condition is complete, or correct. Understanding the full extent of the risk factors, symptoms and treatments can help make all of us better informed and prepared should a diagnosis hit close to home. Beyond the 5 facts about lung cancer listed below, there are countless other nuances to the disease, so, should you find your own life impacted by lung cancer, it’s important to do your research and educate yourself.
5 Facts About Lung Cancer
- Lung cancer is the second most common type of cancer. More than 1.8 million people around the world are diagnosed with lung cancer each year, including 222,500 Americans. It follows only breast cancer in the number of people affected.
- It has higher fatality rates than many other types of cancer. Nearly 160,000 people die of lung cancer each year—more than the rates for colon, breast and prostate cancers combined.
- Smoking is the leading — but not only — risk factor. Smoking cigarettes drastically increases your chances for contracting the disease, as does smoking cigars, pipes, and hookahs. However, up to 15% of lung cancer patients are non-smokers, with other risk factors including secondhand smoke, carcinogen exposure, and genetic mutations.
- There are four primary forms of lung cancer. The vast majority of cases are considered non-small cell lung cancer, while other forms include small cell lung cancer, mesothelioma, and carcinoid tumors.
- A registry exists for patients to help fight lung cancer. Cutting-edge research and targeted therapies are making inroads toward fighting lung cancer. Patients also can have a hand in stemming the tide with participation in The Lung Cancer Registry, an exhaustive database to which patients can contribute information about their diagnosis, which researchers use to continue their work.
These 5 facts about lung cancer illustrate the depth and breadth of the disease—it is a complex condition that affects each person differently. Becoming better aware of its many nuances can help arm you with the information you need to do your part to reduce the risk for lung cancer in your own life, and to help others get on the path to health as well.
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