Lung cancer statistics that'll shock you
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Lung cancer statistics...the ugly truth

Perhaps the most shocking of all lung cancer statistics is that close to nine out of ten cases of lung cancer would never have developed - if the patient had never smoked. The actual figure is 87% - that's the percentage of lung cancer cases directly attributable to tobacco usage.

In other words, this disease - which claims more lives every year than prostrate cancer, colorectal cancer and breast cancer combined - is mostly brought on by the actions of those who suffer from it. That is perhaps the most appalling fact among all the other lung cancer statistics and figures.

Here are some more lung cancer statistics.

  • There were approximately 173,000 new cases of the disease diagnosed in the year 2005.
  • A full 13% of all cancers diagnosed every year are cancers of the lung. It accounts for about 28% of all cancer related deaths annually. The difference between the 13% incidence figure and the 28% mortality figure is testimony to the low survival rates associated with this type of cancer.
  • If that were not enough, the incidence of lung cancer is on the rise among women. Records show that from 1960 to 1990, lung cancer incidence among women skyrocketed by fully four hundred percent!
  • An estimated 1 in 18 women and 1 in 13 men will develop this deadly disease at some point in their lives.
  • Here's another of the dangerous lung cancer statistics - the disease is detected at an early stage in less than 16% of all cases. That means, there is only less than 1 in 7 lung cancer cases are discovered at an early, localized stage - the stage which offers the maximum chances of survival.
  • The overall survival rate at the five year mark is only 15%. However, if the disease is detected at an early stage, the survival rate at the five year point goes up to 49%. Unfortunately, that happens only in fewer than 16% of cases.
  • African American men are approximately 50% more likely to develop lung cancer as compared to Caucasian men. The death rate from this disease is 30% higher among African American men than among Caucasian men.
To put these numbers into perspective, 173,000 (which is the number of new cases diagnosed in a year) is about the population of Columbus, Ohio. An average of 473 new cases of lung cancer cases are detected every day. With numbers like that, it is all too likely that someone you know has or will develop the disease.

And out of those 473 people who are diagnosed with the disease every day, 237 will die before they reach the five year mark. That's another one of the shocking lung cancer statistics.

On the positive side, the incidence of lung cancer among men has dropped sharply throughout the 1990s. The disease incidence among women continued to rise till 1998 and leveled off after that. It is likely that incidence among women will also drop in the years to come.

There is intensive research going on to discover ways and means to both prevent and cure lung cancer. Western medicine is becoming more open to holistic approaches to lung cancer treatment. Doctors are even willing to admit that a patient's mental attitude and thought patterns may have a role to play in enhancing survival rates. With all these efforts and changes, it is quite possible that lung cancer statistics will paint a more favorable picture in the coming years and decades.


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