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If you have lungs, these are the statistics

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer mortality in both men and women worldwide, with 1.3 million people dying from the disease each year.

Every year, primary carcinoma of the lungs effect 93,000 men and 80,000 women in the U.S. and 86% die within 5 years of diagnosis.

What is lung cancer? Lung cancer is a malignant tumor that grows in one or both lungs. Lung cancers often form in the cells that line the airways and nearby glands. In lung cancer, the changing of normal cells into cancerous cells generally occurs over a period of several months to actual years.

If you have lungs, you are a possible candidate for lung cancer. In fact, one out of every fourteen people will be diagnosed with lung cancer. About 1,660,290 new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed in 2013. Of those diagnosed, about 228,190 will be new cases of lung cancer (118,080 in men and 110,110 in women).

Lung cancer (both small cell and non-small cell) is the second most common cancer in both men and women (not counting skin cancer). In men, prostate cancer is more common, while in women breast cancer is more common. Lung cancer accounts for about 14% of all new cancers.

In 2013, about 580,350 Americans are projected to die of cancer, almost 1,600 people a day! An estimated 159,480 of those deaths will be from lung cancer (87,260 in men and 72,220 among women), accounting for about 27% of all cancer deaths. Cancer remains the second most common cause of death in the United States. That is nearly one out of every four deaths.

Lung cancer is not only responsible for almost 1/3 of all cancer deaths in the U.S. but is also 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 cancer combined. Among women, lung cancer is responsible for more cancer deaths than breast cancer and all gynecological cancer combined. Breast cancer death rates have been relatively stable at 40,000 deaths per year, while 80,000 women die of lung cancer annually.

My wife, Beth, was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus almost five years ago, and more recently, being a non-smoker, Stage IV Lung Cancer, Adenocarcinoma. Cancer has many unknowns but, with Lupus, even more is yet undiscovered. More often than not, Lupus is misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all. It took almost 13 years to diagnose Beth's Lupus. Several SLE indicators mimic many other major diseases, including cancer. Then just prior to the diagnosis of cancer, Lupus quite possibly interfered with or masked some of her early cancer symptoms.

Throughout this journey, from diagnosis and during treatment, the oncologist has hinted that her Lupus ravaged immune system has contributed or exacerbated the Stage IV Lung cancer. From a small suspicious nodule in her right lung to inoperable, Stage IV Adenocarcinoma in just a few short months.

It's been said that 33% of ALL chemotherapy patients die within the first 30 days of treatment. This statistic hit our family close to home, when my wife's mother died within weeks of her lung cancer diagnosis. One chemotherapy treatment was all her body could take. So, when diagnosed, it is critically important to have a plan and to focus on how you are to attack this insidious disease.

Lung cancer was uncommon before the advent of cigarette smoking; it was not even recognized as a distinct disease until 1761. Different aspects of lung cancer were described further in 1810. Case reports in the medical literature numbered only 374 worldwide in 1912, but a review of autopsies showed that the incidence of lung cancer had increased from 0.3% in 1852 to 5.66% in 1952.

The American Cancer Society attributes having no early detection for lung cancer for why its death rates are so high, they stress that any cancer prevention is key.

According to the American Cancer Society breast cancer, colon cancer and lung cancer are highest in women and prostate cancer, lung cancer and colon cancer are highest in men. Lung cancer is the number one killer in both. Early detection is paramount.

Speaking of detection, the earliest written record regarding cancer is from 3000 BC in the Egyptian "Edwin Smith Papyrus", an Ancient Egyptian medical text describing cancer of the breast. Cancer however has existed for all of human history.

Statistics on survival in people with lung cancer vary depending on the stage (extent) of the cancer when it is diagnosed. Despite the very serious prognosis of lung cancer, some people with earlier stage cancers are cured. More than 380,000 people alive today have been diagnosed with lung cancer at some point.

Survival rates are often used by doctors as a standard way of discussing a person’s prognosis (outlook). Some patients may want to know the survival statistics for people in similar situations, while others may not find the numbers helpful, or may even not want to know them.

Survival rates are generally based on previous outcomes of large numbers of people who had the disease, but they cannot predict what will happen to any one person. Knowing the type and the stage of a persons’ cancer helps estimate their outlook. Many other factors may also affect outlook; the genetic changes in the cancer cells, how well the cancer responds to treatment, and the overall health of the individual. Even when considering these other factors, survival rates are at best, rough estimates. A trusted physician will be able to explain these confusing numbers and all of this new information, so that it makes more sense.

Overall, the chance that a man will develop lung cancer in his lifetime is about one in 13; for a woman, the risk is about one in 16. These numbers include both smokers and non-smokers. For smokers the risk is much higher, while for non-smokers the risk is lower.

Black men are 20% more likely to develop lung cancer than white men. The rate is about 10% lower in black women than in white women. Both black and white women have lower rates than men, but the gap is closing. The lung cancer rate has been dropping among men over the past two decades and has recently declined in women.

Now, if you are wondering where the silver lining is, it seems that stats and percentages are in a glass that is almost empty, a little gloomy, at best. I’m here to tell you that statistics don’t dictate whether you live or die! There are many dear people who, for whatever reason, stand up to cancer and live! If you are dealing with a life threatening diagnosis, tear a page from my wife’s book of experience and you can “…hear the facts but…run to the truth!”. The truth being God and his Holy Word, the Bible.

In addition to a strong faith and spiritual intervention, early detection is key! Beyond that, diet and physical activity or exercise can bring strength and much healing. Diets rich in fruits and vegetables can lower the risk of lung cancer. Also, exercise has been a huge factor, increasing the oxygen levels in the human body.

Heavy alcohol use may increase the risk of lung cancer. Exercise may reduce the risk of lung cancer, even in smokers.

Warning signs for lung cancer you should discuss with your doctor; Persistent cough, Chest pain, Weight loss and/or decreased appetite, Bloody sputum, Shortness of breath, Hoarseness, Fever for unknown reasons, Recurrent infections such as bronchitis or pneumonia.

Warning signs that your heart needs a Savior; Persistent loneliness, Painful void deep inside, a hole in your heart that can only be filled by Jesus. You should immediately have a conversation with God, your creator, the author of life. Statistics show that the name of “Jesus” is mentioned more than 3 million times an hour…worldwide.

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