Lung cancer isn’t just a “man’s” disease

It’s time to clear the air

Contributed by Dianne Litwin, MD

cigaretteAs gender roles and smoking patterns have changed, the number of women being diagnosed with lung diseases—asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer—is on the rise. In the 1960s, women who smoked were only 2.7 times more likely to die from lung cancer when compared with women who didn’t smoke. Today, this number has jumped to 25.7. And while most people equate smoking with lung cancer, they often don’t consider the relationship between smoking and other cancers as well as other diseases like COPD, which is on the rise for both men and women.

It’s never too late to quit

If you’ve been smoking for years and think it’s pointless to quit, take this into consideration. According to a research study published in The New England Journal of Medicine in January, those who quit smoking by age 34 lived 10 years longer on average than those who continued to smoke, giving them a life expectancy comparable to people who never smoked. Smokers who quit between ages 35 and 44 lived nine years longer, and those who quit between 45 and 54 lived six years longer. Even quitting smoking between ages 55 and 64 resulted in a four-year gain in life expectancy.

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month

The American Cancer Society (ACS) designates the third Thursday of every November as the Great American Smokeout. The ACS uses this day to encourage smokers to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking that day. The ACS says (and I agree) that quitting—even for one day—is an important step towards a healthier life.

Screenings are a good idea for those at high risk

If you’re a smoker or have other risk factors for lung cancer, UC Health offers lung cancer screenings at various Tristate locations. To schedule an appointment, please call (513) 584-LUNG.

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