lung cancer survival rate and statistics
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Lung cancer survival rate and statistics

The lung cancer survival rate is among the lowest of all types of cancers. It is undoubtedly a killer disease. Approximately one third of all deaths from cancer are caused by lung cancer.

In fact, this disease is the second main cause of death in the developed world, for both men and women.

As far as lung cancer survival rate goes, the average survival rate at the end of five years is just 15%. In contrast, the five year survival rate for prostate cancer is 98%, that for colon cancer is 62% and for breast cancer, 87%. This is a clear indication of the deadliness of lung cancer.

The tragic fact is that an estimated 87% of all cases of lung cancer are caused by smoking (including passive smoking, which involves breathing in second hand smoke).

After smoking, radon gas exposure is the next biggest factor leading to lung cancer, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. Radon is estimated to cause over 20,000 deaths every year from lung cancer.

Lung cancer is by far the single biggest cause of deaths from cancer. This is true across ethic groups - Caucasians, African-Americans, Asians and Hispanics.

In America, lung cancer kills more people every year than liver cancer, breast cancer, kidney cancer, melanoma (skin cancer), colon cancer and prostate cancer combined.

Among different ethnicities, African-Americans have the highest death rate (and incidence). This is thought to be because of a relatively higher percentage of smokers among this group, driven by cultural factors.

To give some comparative lung cancer statistics, lung cancer deaths among men outnumber prostate cancer deaths by a factor of three. And among women, it outnumbers breast cancer deaths by a factor of two.

One of the reasons for the low lung cancer survival rate is the fact that the disease is usually diagnosed at a late stage, when it is already far advanced. Over half of all cases are diagnosed at stages 3B or 4 - and such instances have a five year survival rate of just 5%.

Former smokers account for about half of all new cases of this disease while existing smokers make up about 35%. People who have never smoked make up about 10% of all new cases. However, many among this group of people have probably been exposed to second hand smoke.

Smokers can bring down their chances of getting lung cancer if they give up smoking entirely.

Across the world, the country with the lowest incidence of lung cancer is Nigeria. And the country with the highest incidence is Great Britain.

In keeping with the low lung cancer survival rate, it is estimated that men who smoke are about 23 times more likely to get lung cancer and die of the disease when compared to non smokers. Even male former smokers are almost nine times more at risk.

Women who smoke have 13 times the chances of dying from this disease compared to non smoking women. Women who have given up smoking are five times as likely to die from lung cancer.

Given the very low lung cancer survival rate, the most sensible action one can take is to never start smoking. Or if you are a smoker, give up smoking at the earliest.

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