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  • Lung Cancer Awareness Month: No One Deserves to Die

    November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, and that means that people all across the country will be showing their support for the lung cancer community. We wanted to show our support this year with some info detailing the impact that this deadly disease.

    In 1995, the movement to raise further awareness for lung cancer started with Lung Cancer Awareness Day. As support for the lung cancer movement and community grew, more events were held in honor of the many people who are battling this disease. One of this year’s intriguing messages comes from the Lung Cancer Alliance with their campaign: No One Deserves to Die!

    Key Lung Cancer Statistics

    • As the second most common type of cancer in both men and women, lung cancer accounts for about 14% of all new cancers in the United States.
    • Approximately 373,489 Americans are living with lung cancer.
    • Lung cancer is by far the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women. Each year, more people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined.
    • The number of deaths due to lung cancer has increased approximately 4.3 percent between 1999 and 2008 from 152,156 to 158,656.

    Lung Cancer Risk Increases with Age

    • 2 out of 3 people diagnosed with lung cancer are 65 or older
    • Fewer than 2% of all cases are found in people younger than 45.
    • The average age at the time of diagnosis is about 71.

    Lung Cancer lifetime risk by gender:

    (Numbers include both smokers and non-smokers)

    • Men: 1 in 13
    • Women: 1 in 16

    Lung cancer estimates for 2012 broken down by gender:

    • 226,160 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed (116,470 in men and 109,690 in women).
    • 160,340 deaths from lung cancer (87,750 in men and 72,590 among women), accounting for about 28% of all cancer deaths.

    The number of deaths among men has reached a plateau but the number is still rising among women.

    Lung Cancer Incidence Rate by State as of 2006:

    • State with highest incidence of lung cancer in both men (124.8 per 100,000) and women (76.6 per 100,000): Kentucky
    • State with lowest incidence of lung cancer in both men (32.0 per 100,000) and women (24.7 per 100,000): Utah

    Treatment Options for Lung Cancer

    Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: The specific combination of treatments that are recommended for non-small cell lung cancer will depend on several factors like the patient’s overall level of health and how far the disease has progressed (cancer stage).

    • Stage 0: In this stage, the cancer has not spread any further than the surface of the bronchus. The treatment options are surgical resection (removal) and photodynamic therapy, which involves treating the affected area with a laser to kill the cancer cells.
    • Stage I and II: Treatment is usually tumor removal surgery. If surgery can’t be performed, then radiation therapy with or without chemotherapy is often recommended.
    • Stage IIIA and IIIB: Chest radiation treatment combined with chemotherapy is most commonly used for these patients. Tumor removal surgery for patients with very limited stage IIIA disease, but not recommended for stage IIIB tumors.
    • Stage IV: At this point, surgery is no longer an option for lung cancer patients. Chemotherapy is the main treatment option for stage IV disease, but radiation therapy may be recommended and applied to other areas that are causing pain as well.

    Small Cell Lung Cancer: Combinations of chemotherapy and radiotherapy are most often used for patients with small cell lung cancer. On the other hand, surgery is not usually an option except in rare cases during the very early stages of the disease.

    • Limited Stage: Treatment generally involves a combination of chemotherapy and chest radiation therapy. Most patients will also be administered some brain radiation treatment in order to prevent the spread of cancer in that region.
    • Extensive Stage: Chemotherapy is the most important treatment option for this disease stage. Targeted radiation therapy may be recommended for areas with pain or other problems. Most of these patients also are offered brain radiation treatment.

    National Organizations for Lung Cancer

    The Lung Cancer Alliance
    The Lung Cancer Foundation of America
    The American Lung Association
    The Lung Cancer Research Foundation
    The National Cancer Institute
    The National Lung Cancer Partnership
    United Against Lung Cancer

    Lung Cancer Awareness Events and Fundraisers

    Famous Figures with Lung Cancer

    • Walt Disney: American animator, screenwriter, entrepreneur, voice actor, and director who was also famous for the creation of Mickey Mouse. Died from lung cancer in 1966.
    • John Wayne: Following a surgery to remove his left lung, the Oscar-winning actor beat lung cancer in 1964.
    • Vincent Price: The actor and master of horror died from lung cancer in 1993
    • Steve McQueen: died in Mexico while being treated for asbestos-related lung cancer in 1980.
    • Peter Jennings: this celebrated and renowned TV reporter and anchorman died of lung cancer in 2005.
    • Paul Newman: Actor, producer, philanthropist, and race car driver. Paul Newman had also been a heavy smoker for many years. This legendary actor passed away following complication from lung cancer in 2008.

    Types of Lung Cancer

    There are two main types lung cancer, non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer. These names refer to how the cancers appear when viewed under a microscope by a pathologist.

    Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC): Most lung cancer patients are diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer. However, there are subtypes of this disease that you should be aware of. Because different types of lung cancer are treated differently, your oncologist will determine exactly what treatment is best for you. NSCLC actually accounts for about 80% of lung cancers.

    Different types of NSCLC:

    Small cell lung cancer (SCLC): This form of lung cancer is a lot less common, only accounting for 20% of all diagnosed cases. Although the cancer cells are small, they tend to multiply quickly and can form large tumors that will spread throughout the patient’s body. Smoking is almost always the cause of SCLC.

    Interested in making a donation?

    Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States, and yet it still isn’t getting as much exposure as breast or colon cancer. Lung Cancer Research needs more support, and you can make a difference.