Lung Cancer Risks Not Related to Smoking | 9/11 and Donna Summer
The TMZ headline is shocking – “9/11 Gave Me Cancer.”
That is the recent story released around the death of Donna Summer, famous disco singer, who reportedly battled lung cancer before her death.
Below is an excerpt from the TMZ article linked above:
Donna Summer was convinced -- inhaling toxic air after 9/11 gave her the lung cancer that eventually killed her ... TMZ has learned.
Sources close to the singer tell TMZ what we were hearing this morning -- that Donna was in New York City during 9/11, living at an apartment near Ground Zero.
And, we're told, after Donna was diagnosed with lung cancer, several people told her that cigarette smoke may have been the culprit -- she was a smoker, and she also frequented clubs where people smoked. But Donna simply didn't buy it.
There has been studies that claim that factors from 9/11 can increase one’s lung cancer risk. For example, this Web MD article states that “male firefighters who were at Ground Zero are 19% more likely to develop cancer than firemen who were not at the site.”
Other lung cancer risk factors not related to smoking include prolonged environmental exposure to radon, asbestos, coal products and/or radioactive substances, prolonged environmental exposure to chemicals such as arsenic, vinyl chloride and/or other carcinogens, and the diagnosis of tuberculosis, silicosis and/or berylliosis with or without scarring of the lung.
The study mentioned about did not, however, include other groups of people who were also exposed to harmful effects from 9/11. We likely will never know if toxic air impacted Donna’s lung cancer diagnosis, though it could have, combined with her smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke, played a role.
As we’ve mentioned in past posts, knowing your risk is key to detecting lung cancer early. If it’s found in early stages, the lung cancer survival rate more than triples from a tiny 15% to above 50%.
It’s important to not just know your risk, but to understand what the key risk factors are, and how they can affect your life.
According to the Siteman Cancer Center in St. Louis these are the main lung cancer risk factors:
- Age and lung cancer: The risk of lung cancer goes up with age. Rates of the disease are low in people under 40; they then increase significantly from age 40 until after 75.
- Air pollution and lung cancer: People who live in a big city for 10 or more years have a slightly higher risk of lung cancer. This is most likely due to pollutants in the air, like car exhaust and factory emissions, that cause damage to the cells in the lungs and airways.
- Workplace chemicals and lung cancer: People who are exposed to certain workplace chemicals have a higher risk of lung cancer. This is because some chemicals can damage the genetic structure (DNA) in the body’s cells, and this damage can lead to cancer. Workplace chemicals linked to lung cancer include asbestos, radon and chromium. Processes like arsenic smelting are also linked to lung cancer. In addition, taking beta-carotene supplements can further boost lung cancer risk in people exposed to workplace chemicals. So most people exposed to such chemicals should avoid the supplement.
- Family history and lung cancer: People who have a close relative (mother, father, brother or sister) with lung cancer have a higher risk of the disease. This is because some cases of lung cancer are linked to mutations in the genetic structure (DNA) of the body’s cells that can be passed from generation to generation.
If you think you or a loved one may be at risk for lung cancer, be sure to visit our new page dedicated to the top lung cancer symptoms, and encourage you and your loved ones to look it over. Talk about the symptoms, calculate one another’s risk, and take action in discovering lung cancer when it’s in its earliest stages, and the survival rates are higher.
The more you know about the symptoms of lung cancer, the better prepared you and your loved ones will be.
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.
If you are a lung cancer survivor or if you have a loved one who battled lung cancer, visit our Lung Cancer Awareness Wall to memorialize and honor his or her personal fight against lung cancer.
Be on the lookout for future posts discussing this very topic in the coming days.