Common myths about lung cancer

ORLANDO -- (10/19/2017) -- Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in men and women, and the most deadly. But, there are a lot of myths surrounding this cancer.

Sharon Rutka got the diagnosis after a routine chest xray.

“The nurse said they found a spot on my lungs,” Rutka detailed.

That spot was lung cancer.

Rutka told Ivanhoe, “I mean I was worried. I don’t have time for this.”

Luckily, Rutka’s cancer was caught early. One big myth about lung cancer is that if you have it, you’ll die within a few months.

Raja Flores, MD, Icahn School of Medicine Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, explained, “If you find it early, 80 percent of lung cancers can be cured.”

The problem is lung cancer is often caught too late, which leads to another myth, that there are no symptoms. Doctors say there are signs to watch for: a cough that doesn’t go away, chest pain, weight loss, coughing up blood, or infections like bronchitis or pneumonia that keep coming back. Another false belief, only smokers get lung cancer.

“Everyone automatically assumes smoking, lung cancer, but no, there’s a good number that can have cancers that have never smoked,” said Dr. Flores.

While smoking does increase your risk, more than 40,000 cases of lung cancer are diagnosed each year in non-smokers. The last myth, quitting smoking won’t help. It’s not true! Ten years after quitting the habit, your risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a person who still smokes.

Here’s an interesting fact: black men are about 20 percent more likely to develop lung cancer than white men. But, the rate is about 10 percent lower in black women than in white women.



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