Current estimates show that in 2015, there will be 221,200 new lung cancer cases and 158,040 deaths due to the disease. More so, lung cancer accounts for 27% of all cancer deaths. In fact, the number of deaths due to lung cancer is higher than the total mortalities from colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined.
The numbers clearly show that lung cancer is a prevalent condition. That’s why it’s imperative to learn what increases a person’s risk, how it is diagnosed, and ways it can be treated. Unfortunately, lung cancer myths are still being believed today and these misconceptions affect proper education and increased awareness.
Today, we will debunk the top five myths about lung cancer and reveal the truth about them.
1. Lung cancer is a death sentence.
Being diagnosed with lung cancer doesn’t necessarily equate to death. Thanks to advanced technology, treatments that cure the disease or at the very least, prolong the lives of patients are now available.
Lung cancer survival rates can be significant. In fact, it can be as high as 85 percent, statistics suggest. More so, 430,000 individuals who are living today were diagnosed with the condition at some point in their lives.
2. Only smokers develop lung cancer.
Smoking is the leading risk factor for lung cancer, and it is associated with about 90 percent of cases in the United States. However, this doesn’t mean that non-smokers have zero chances of acquiring the disease.
Smoking is not the only culprit for lung cancer. A person has increased risk of developing this condition due to exposure to second-hand smoke, radon, and radiation. Unhealthy diet, poor lifestyle choices, and lung cancer history in the family also adds up to a person’s risk.
3. Lung cancer only affects older people.
Lung cancer is more common among individuals who are between 60 to 80 years old, but that doesn’t mean that there are no incidence of lung cancer among people in the younger age ranges.
Statistics show that 21.4% of individuals who are between 55 and 64 have lung cancer.
4. Lung cancer can be detected by blood tests.
Conducting a blood test alone is not enough to determine if a person has lung cancer or not. However, it may help determine the overall health of the patient. When done along with other examinations, blood tests may help detect if the cancer has spread in other organs.
Some treatments that may detect lung cancer are chest x-ray, CT scan, MRI, sputum cytology, needle biopsy, bronchoscopy, thoracotomy, and other imaging tests.
5. There’s no point in quitting smoking if a person is already diagnosed with lung cancer.
Smokers who are diagnosed with lung cancer should never think this way. Having lung cancer is not a free ticket to continue practicing such an unhealthy habit.
Quitting smoking is just as important for lung cancer patients, because it increases their chances of survival and helps lessen any further risks of acquiring other diseases.