June 27, 2012

2011 November 4 – Lung Cancer Not Just In Smokers

Lung cancer still causes most deaths from cancer in Australia and even non-smokers are at risk, experts have warned.

A report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and Cancer Australia shows the number of new lung cancer cases has risen markedly in the past 25 years, with a late peak in women pushing up their rates by 72 per cent.

Survival rates have improved slightly, but only 11 per cent of men and 15 per cent of women were alive five years after diagnosis.

The report shows though smoking is the main cause, 35 per cent of women and 10 per cent of men who get the disease are non-smokers.

Cancer Australia chief executive Helen Zorbas said lung cancer was the second biggest cause of death in men, after heart disease, the fourth for women and survival rates remained low.

Nick Jacobsen, 39, developed lung cancer despite not smoking.

The Perth father of two was diagnosed last year after returning from a cycling trip in the French Alps with stomach pains. An abdomen scan caught the lower section of his lungs, revealing a lump. Tests confirmed a tumour and he had one lobe of his left lung removed and then four months of chemotherapy.

He said he was shocked by the diagnosis because he did not smoke, was healthy and was only in his 30s.

“I would never have considered lung cancer and even now people assume I must be a smoker, so I guess I was just unlucky,” he said. “Now I keep my fingers crossed and hope it doesn’t come back.”

Australian Council on Smoking and Health president Mike Daube said it was encouraging that male lung cancer rates were falling, reflecting the decline in smoking.

The Australian Lung Foundation is holding a vigil, Shine a Light on Lung Cancer, next Saturday at 6.45pm, starting at Victoria Gardens in East Perth. For information go to www.lungfoundation.com.au .

Story courtesy of The West Australian 4 November 2011 http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/breaking/11333752/lung-cancer-not-just-in-smokers/