Lung cancer is cancer of some of the cells in parts of your lung, usually beginning in the lining of the bronchus (airways) or bronchioles (small tubes). Smoking is the main cause of lung cancer.
Did You Know?
- The leading cause of death from all cancers in New Zealand in 2005 was cancer of the trachea, bronchus and lung (Ministry of Health Wellington 2008). It accounted for 864 male deaths (most common cause of death in males) and 587 female deaths (third most common cause of death in females after breast and colorectal cancer) in 2005.
- Smoking is the single main avoidable cause of lung cancer. It is not known why one smoker develops lung cancer and another does not. Up to 90% of lung cancer is caused by smoking.
- Second-hand smoking (passive smoking) may also cause lung cancer.
- Lung cancer occurs most often in adults between the ages of 40 and 70 who have smoked cigarettes for at least 20 years.
- Occupational exposure to asbestos is associated with an increased risk of lung cancer as well as other conditions. People with asbestosis have a doubled risk of developing lung cancer. If the person also smokes, then the risk is increased further.
- Other occupational exposures that possibly are associated with lung cancer include contact with the processing of steel, nickel, chrome and coal gas.
Symptoms of lung cancer include:
- A persistent cough or a change in a chronic cough;
- Repeated chest infections;
- Shortness of breath;
- Noisy breathing;
- Pain in the chest area;
- Blood-stained sputum
What Can You Do?
The best thing you can do to avoid the risk of lung cancer is to become smokefree.
Smoke Free (http://www.smokefree.co.nz/)
The Quit Group (http://www.quit.co.nz/page/index.php)
Health Sponsorship Council (http://www.hsc.org.nz/)
Smokefree Schools (http://www.smokefreeschools.co.nz/)
(source: www.everybody.co.nz; Cancer Society)