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Lung Cancer in America

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Lung Cancer in America

Chronic diseases, such as cancer, have been plaguing our species for centuries. Early documentation of cancer has been found dating back to 1600 B.C., but is believed to be from sources dating back to 2500 B.C. (Cancer as a Disease, 2014). In the United States, cancer is the second leading cause of death, behind heart disease. Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer-related deaths in both men and women in America. Advances in lung cancer screening and treatment have increased the survivability rate. Federal, state, and local public health offices continue to seek out new ways to combat this epidemic. Lung cancer occurs when cells in the lungs begin to grow out of control. There are two types of lung cancer classifications: non-small cell, which is the most common, and small cell. If left untreated, death is inevitable. In 2010, the American Cancer Society reported over 1.5 million new cases of cancer - of those new cases, 14.5% were for lung cancer (Cancer Trends Progress Report – 2011/2012 Update, 2012). In 2014, estimates show 224,210 new cases of lung cancer, a slight increase over the 2010 data. The prevalence of lung cancer has been consistently higher in men versus women, as well as higher in blacks and whites compared to other ethnic groups. Research has found lung cancer to be heavily linked to cigarette smoking, as well as exposure to other poisons, such as radon gas, asbestos, arsenic, and diesel exhaust (CDC, 2014). Unfortunately, lung cancer does not target only smokers. Every year, thousands of Americans are diagnoses with lung cancer due to second hand smoke exposure. According to the CDC, there are over 7,000 chemicals found in cigarette smoke, including over 70 poisons known to cause cancer (2014).

There was a time when the diagnosis of cancer was equated to a death sentence. Since symptoms associated with lung...

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