Michigan Observes November As Lung Cancer Awareness Month

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
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November marks National Lung Cancer Awareness Month and the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) is proud to participate in the national effort to raise public attention about this disease.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in Michigan and the United States and is expected to claim the lives of 161,840 Americans this year alone. In Michigan, an estimated 8,020 people will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year with an estimated 5,890 dying of the disease. Smoking is the leading risk factor for lung cancer with tobacco use causing 9 out of 10 cases of lung cancer.

"Non-smokers who breathe secondhand smoke also have an increased risk of developing lung cancer," said MDCH Director Janet Olszewski. "Non-smoking spouses of smokers have a 20-30 percent greater risk of developing lung cancer than do spouses of non-smokers."

The best way to prevent lung cancer is not to smoke and to live and work in smoke-free environments.

Approximately 24 percent of Michigan men and 19 percent of Michigan women smoke cigarettes. Michigan residents more likely to smoke are those with lower-income households, lower education levels and younger ages.

Quitting smoking is actually one of the most difficult things that many will ever do, and even the most motivated smokers may attempt to quit 5 or 6 times before they are finally successful.

To help raise awareness about smoking cessation, the American Cancer Society has scheduled its 33rd annual Great American Smokeout on Nov. 20 to encourage smokers to quit for a day in hopes that some will quit for a lifetime.

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The health benefits of quitting smoking are enormous. Some of these benefits include:

- 20 minutes after quitting: Your heart rate and blood pressure drops.

- 12 hours after quitting: The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.

- 2 weeks to 3 months after quitting: Your circulation improves and your lung function increases.

- 1 to 9 months after quitting: Coughing and shortness of breath decrease; cilia (tiny hair-like structures that move mucus out of the lungs) regain normal function in the lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce the risk of infection.

- 1 year after quitting: The excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker's.

- 5 years after quitting: Your stroke risk is reduced to that of a non-smoker 5 to 15 years after quitting.

- 10 years after quitting: The lung cancer death rate is about half that of a continuing smoker's. The risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, cervix, and pancreas decrease.

- 15 years after quitting: The risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker's.

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