Lung Cancer Awareness and the Truth About Smoking

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month

Lung affects millions of Americans each year. It is the deadliest form of cancer out there. More than half the people diagnosed with lung cancer die within one year of being diagnosed.

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. It is the month dedicated to educating the public on signs, symptoms, treatments, and prevention of lung cancer.

One of these events is the Great American Smokeout, a day devoted to getting people to throw out their cigarettes and stop smoking. Smoking causes an estimated one in every five deaths around the world by contributing to diseases like lung cancer and heart disease. According to the ACS, smoking is “The single largest preventable cause of death and illness in the world.”

The US Surgeon General has said, “Smoking cessation represents the single most important step that smokers can take to enhance the length and quality of their lives.”

To participate in the Great American Smokeout, go to the American Cancer Society‘s website and find details.


Myths About Smoking and Lung Cancer

Smoking is bad. It causes lung cancer. It is also bad for your heart. It is important to quit to live a healthy lifestyle. We all know these things. We have heard them for years. But how much do we really know about smoking and lung cancer? Not as much as we should.

Johns Hopkins Medicine helps debunk some myths associated with smoking and cancer. Let’s “observe” Lung Cancer Awareness Month by educating ourselves about the truth about smoking and lung cancer.


MYTH: You Can’t Get Lung Cancer Unless You Smoke
FACT: You Can Get Lung Cancer Without Smoking.

Cigarette smoking is, without a doubt, the single greatest risk factor for lung cancer. It is linked to 90 percent of all lung cancer cases. Lonny Yarmus, the clinical director of the division of pulmonary and critical care at Johns Hopkins, states, “People who smoke are up to 30 times more likely to get lung cancer or die from lung cancer than people who do not smoke.” Exposure to second-hand cigarette smoke can also cause lung cancer.

But, lung cancers are also linked to factors other than cigarette smoke. Radon gas that occurs in the environment is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the US. Asbestos, diesel fumes, arsenic, and air pollution are also recognized as causes of lung cancer. Radiation exposure can also cause lung cancer.


MYTH: Lung Cancer is The Only Type of Cancer Linked to Smoking
Fact: Smoking is Linked to Many Different Types of Cancer

Tobacco products, not limited to cigarettes, are also linked to the following cancer:

  • Lip cancer
  • Mouth cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Rectal cancer
  • Tongue cancer
  • Sinus cancer
  • Throat cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Myeloid leukemia
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Colon cancer
  • Uterine cancer
  • Cervical cancer


MYTH: I Have Smoked So Long, Quitting Now is Pointless
Fact: Quitting Smoking at Any Time Can Help Increase Your Chances of Survival and Longevity.

“According to the National Cancer Institute, studies have shown that smokers who quit at about age 30 can reduce their chance of dying prematurely from smoking-related diseases like lung cancer by more than 90 percent. If you quit at age 50, you can reduce this risk by 50 percent. And if you quit at age 60, you’re still more likely to live longer than those who keep smoking.”

Even people who quit after being diagnosed can tolerate treatments better and increase their chances of surviving longer.

The doctors at Johns Hopkins Medicine stress that it is never too late to quit smoking and that doing so at any time can have significant benefits on your health. For more information about their lung cancer program, visit


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