Excluding skin cancer, lung cancer is the second most common cancer in both men and women. The American Cancer Society estimated that in 2013, approximately 159,480 deaths would occur from lung cancer, accounting for about 27 percent of all cancer deaths.
Types of Lung Cancer
- Non-small cell lung cancer: the most common type which includes squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, and large cell carcinoma.
- Small cell lung cancer: tends to spread quickly and is also called oat cell cancer.
- Lung carcinoid tumor: fewer than 5 percent of lung cancers are lung carcinoid tumors, which grow slowly and rarely spread.
According to the American Cancer Society, at least 80 percent of lung cancer deaths are caused by smoking. Genetics and exposure to radon and asbestos are also risk factors. However, just because you don’t smoke, or are not surrounded by harmful elements, doesn’t mean you can’t get lung cancer, especially if you are exposed to second hand smoke.
Second hand smoke is the smoke from the lighted end of a cigarette, cigar, or pipe, as well as the smoke exhaled by a smoker. When non-smokers are exposed to second hand smoke — called involuntary or passive smoking — they take in nicotine and the other 7,000 chemicals just as smokers do.
According to the National Cancer Institute, the U. S. Surgeon General estimates that living with a smoker increases a nonsmoker’s chances of developing lung cancer by 20 to 30 percent. Nationwide, there are approximately 3,400 lung cancer deaths in non-smoking adults.
This Lung Cancer Awareness Month, brush up on more facts and reduce your risk by stopping smoking, and encouraging others to kick the habit, too.