Every year in Canada lung cancer invades the life of almost 30,000 people and sadly over 22,000 do not live a year after diagnosis! Lung cancer remains the #1 killer of all cancers. There are approximately 100 types of cancer and it accounts for 26% of all cancer deaths. The needle has moved but very little in the outcomes; but it i moving nonetheless!
In 2019 over 29,300 Canadians will be diagnosed with lung cancer. Not only will those who are diagnosed with lung cancer but their families, friends, work and community associates, community work. The list goes on. Unfortunately, approximately 22,000 will die in the year of diagnosis. Of those over 10,000 are women making it the #1 cancer that takes the lives of women. So let's speak to fact or fiction:
The most unwarranted stigma attached.
Smoking as the only and root cause of lung cancer has somehow attached itself. From this people have decided that it is a deserved cancer. How did we get here?
First you need to understand that if you have lungs you can get lung cancer. Lung cancer does not discriminate by age, sex, habits, fitness. Absolutely anyone can get it. But yes, many smokers do get lung cancer, does not mean they deserve it.
Today this is what lung cancer looks like:
• Approximately 50% of those diagnosed are current smokers;
• About 10% of smokers will be diagnosed with lung cancer;
• 30% are nonsmokers and 20% are never smokers. This group is actually on the increase while the other segments are decreasing.
Approximately 3,500 of those who are diagnosed lung cancer is due to occupation, and environmental factors. Other areas include family history, genetics and as always, the unknown and yet to be discovered.
Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer
Radon is a radioactive gas that occurs when uranium in soil and rock breaks down. It is an invisible, odourless and tasteless gas that can accumulate to unnaturally high and dangerous levels in our homes. It is not just about smoking!
Only older men get lung cancer.
Of the total number diagnosed over 14,000 are women. Lung cancer is showing up more often in younger people. Though rare even children can get lung cancer.
Lung Cancer is not as common a cancer as people think.
Lung cancer accounts for 14% of all cancers diagnosed and there are 100 types of cancer. 26% of all deaths from cancer are because of lung cancer.
Most cases of lung cancer are caught at an early stage.
This is not true over 50% are diagnosed at stage IV when the ability to fight and survive is very low. This is particularly true for never smokers. Because people believe only smokers get lung cancer the symptoms are ignored until it is too late.
Lung cancer is a death sentence.
The survival rate is nowhere near where it needs to be, but because of the dedication of all those involved in combating lung cancer we are seeing small increases in survival rates. The 5 year survival rate is now 19% up from 17%. It also stands testament to those who are diagnosed to overcome the actual cancer and defending themselves against the stigma associated with lung cancer.
I already have lung cancer, there’s no point in quitting smoking now.
• Lung cancer patients who quit smoking have fewer complications after surgery;
• Quitting smoking can improve responses to all forms of cancer therapy;
• Quitting smoking after cancer therapy has been associated with a significantly decreased risk of another primary tumour in the lung;
• Quitting smoking can help to improve breathing.