The Lack of Lung Cancer Awareness and Statistics Behind the Number One Cancer Killer
Unfortunately, when lung cancer is diagnosed, many people are not given good odds. With a 16% 5-year survival rate and more than 50% of newly diagnosed individuals perishing within the first year, it’s not just the facts behind the disease, but the stories that can be discouraging.
Take, for instance, the case of legendary Penn State Football Coach Joe Paterno. Paterno was diagnosed with lung cancer on November 11th, and passed away on January 22, just 72 days later. He was 85 years old, and reportedly fought “metastatic small-cell carcinoma.”
According to this article in the Times-Tribune, “doctors discovered Mr. Paterno's cancer Nov. 11 during a follow-up examination for a bronchial illness, Penn State team doctor Wayne J. Sebastianelli said after the family disclosed the illness, a week later.
By the time of Mr. Paterno's death, according to the hospital statement, his cancer had metastasized, meaning it had spread beyond the lung. At that point, according to Luzerne County pathologist Dr. Mary Pascucci, it was virtually untreatable.”
Paterno’s case is not unique. Like many lung cancer cases, his was discovered while checking for another illness.
One of the reasons why lung cancer is often caught in the later stages is because lung cancer symptoms are often be attributed to another disease. Additionally, few people are fully aware of the lung cancer risk factors and the facts behind the number one cancer killer.
According to a recent study, we discussed in a past post, 80% of adults are not aware that lung cancer is the number one cancer killer, with only 12% saying that they know about lung cancer symptoms.
Here are a few more interesting facts from the article:
- 83 percent of women surveyed did not know that lung cancer takes more women’s lives each year than breast cancer.
- 75 percent of men surveyed did not know that lung cancer takes more men’s lives each year than prostate cancer.
- 88 percent of those surveyed did not know that radon was the second leading cause of lung cancer. Radon exposure is an especially large issue in the Midwest, where there is a high level found in the foundation of homes.
- Only 6 percent of respondents said they had talked to their doctor about their risk for lung cancer
- Only 32 percent of those surveyed understood that half of all lung cancers occur in people who have already quit smoking. One famous example of this is the ABC Anchorman, Peter Jennings, who passed away in 2005, despite not smoking for 20 years. Additionally, this lack of awareness of the continued risk after quitting smoking may make people less likely to talk with their doctors about symptom recognition.
Studies like this show that there is a severe lack of awareness for lung cancer. One could make the connection between the lack of awareness connecting with generally later lung cancer detection, as well as the survival rates.
By doing our part to raise lung cancer awareness, hopefully we too can impact these lung cancer survival rates, and finally make an impact against the number one cancer killer.
According to the American Cancer Society, the best defense against cancer is early detection. Because of this, we need to join together to raise more awareness about lung cancer. People should be aware of lung cancer symptoms, as well as the magnitude of the disease. More awareness could lead to more funding, and more money for lung cancer research—something that is desperately needed.
To learn more about Oncimmune’s EarlyCDT-Lung, the blood test to aid in the early detection of lung cancer, please visit www.HelloHaveYouHeard.com. The test is covered by Medicare Part B and all private insurance companies (Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Humana, Aetna, etc.). Since its commercial release in 2009, EarlyCDT-Lung has aided in the early detection of numerous cases of lung cancer. Since its release in 2009, EarlyCDT-Lung is currently being used by hundreds of doctors and thousands of patients across the United States.
If you think you or a loved one may be at risk for lung cancer, visit our lung cancer risk assessment to see if you are at an increased risk for the deadly disease.
If you would like to submit yourself or a loved one to the Awareness Wall, please click here.