Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer cases and deaths in the U. S. Recently, cases have dropped because of a decrease in smoking rates, but hundreds of thousands of Americans are still diagnosed and die from the disease every year. Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer incidence and mortality, but it is not the only one.
Smoking results in around 80 % of cases. Typically, the longer and more often a person smokes, the higher his or her risk. Female smokers are slightly more likely to be diagnosed. The prognosis for smokers diagnosed with lung cancer is generally quite poor due to the presence of advanced disease by the time of diagnosis. Lung cancer is often present for many years before diagnosed and symptoms are similar to those seen in nearly every long term smoker. By the time malignancy is found in many cases, the disease has spread to other body areas and treatment becomes palliative versus curative.
One of the least talked about causes of lung cancer is radon gas which leads to the deaths of thousands of Americans every year. Radon gas is a naturally occurring gas that seeps from deep within the earth into homes through cracks within foundations. It is found in tiny amounts within every building, but is much higher in some areas than others. Radon is odorless, and tasteless, meaning individuals are often unaware of its presence. The only method of determining the level of radon exposure experienced within an individual home is the use the a home test kit. Many cancer experts recommend that all families test for radon within their home, and make modifications to the home if high levels are discovered.
At a glance, lung cancer statistics can be scary, but fortunately, the vast majority of cases are preventable. An individual’s risk is almost non-existent if he or she simply is committed to never breathing in tobacco smoke, and taking steps to reduce radon exposure.