Lung cancer is a disease in which a primary cancer (the original site where the cancer occurred) develops in the tissue of the lungs. Lung cancer was first described by doctors in the mid 1800’s. At the turn of the century, it was still considered a rarity; that has changed dramatically. What has not changed is the difficultly of detecting lung cancer in its earliest stages when it has the greatest chance of being successfully treated. “Lung cancer is the leading cause of death from cancer among both men and women, with 168,000 new cases in 1992 and 146,00 deaths” (Winawer 283).
If you fall into the following categories of people who have been heavy smokers, you have the greatest chance of being diagnosed with lung cancer: a male over 60; someone who has smoked one for more packs of cigarettes a day for 20 years or longer; someone who began to smoke before the age of 20 and is still smoking: a worker in a industrial plant with a high risk material, such as asbestos, who also smoke. Someone who has persistent or violent smokers cough; someone who does not smoke but is frequently exposed to unnecessary passive smoke” (Cooper 114-120).
Numerous studies all over the world have shown a link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer, as well as other cancers, with an increase in cigarette smoking followed by an increase of lung cancer. Most of these studies involve the testing of non-smokers and smokers to see how things can affect them differently and why. The most common symptom of lung cancer is a cough caused by a blockage of the air passage to the lung as the tumor grows.
Smoking is a major cause of lung cancer, as well as other cancers and diseases, such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis. “Smoking is considered the single largest nnecessary and preventable cause of disease and early death in the United States” (Napoli 123). The tobacco plant dates back 7,000 years, originating somewhere between North and South America. Native Americans may have been the first people to smoke, chew, or snuff tobacco, and they introduced it to European explorers.
In the 17th and 18th centuries it increased in popularity. In 1761 John Hill, a physician in London, reported an association between snuff and cancer of the nose. Thirty years later a doctor in Germany reported on a relationship between tobacco use and lip cancer. ” (Altman and Sarg 252). However, it was not until the 20th century that researchers started seriously investigating the use of tobacco and its consequences. Studies conducted by scientists in different countries began appearing in medical journals describing the relationship between cigarette smoking and cancer and other various diseases.
The first study in the United States citing conclusive evidence of the association between cigarette smoking and lung cancer was published in 1950. In 1964, the United States surgeon generals landmark report, “The Health Consequences of Smoking,” was released which showed strong casual elationship between smoking and lung cancer” (Altman and Sarg). Since that time researchers have sought and obtained corroborative evidence from many different sources that cigarette smoking leads to early death.
There are now thousands of studies that detail many different and severe consequences of smoking. The only organization that maintains that there is no definite proof of the hazards of smoking is the Tobacco Institute, created and funded by the tobacco industry to lobby and coordinate its public relations. When the Tobacco Industry says something like this it makes you wonder how many of there employees have otten lung cancer from smoking there tobacco products. Research has also been done on the effect of tobacco smoke on non-smokers.
Evidence of its harmful potential is mounting: “According the National Cancer Institute, non-smokers who live with a smoker are increased risk of developing lung cancer. Epidemiological studies indicate that the risk for lung cancer in non-smokers increases 30% if they are married to a smoker; the risk increases to 70% if the spouses is a heavy smoker” (Altman and Sarg 253). Involuntary smoking may be partially harmful for specific population groups, such as children.
My opinion is that a child receiving lung cancer because their parents smoked should be punished in some way, like a big fine, or never be able to buy another pack of cancer their entire lives. ” In 1990 the Environmental Protection Agency concluded that passive or involuntary smoking causes 3,000 deaths a year as well as a substantial number of other respiratory illness or deaths among the children of smokers”(Simmonds 527). The unborn child of women who smoke, a very special group of passive smokers, weigh less at birth and are a greater risk for spontaneous abortion, fetal death, and sudden nfant death syndrome.
Passive smoking also has some non life threatening but very annoying side affects, including burning, itching and tearing eyes, headaches, coughing, irritation, of the nose and throat, allergic reactions and discomfort from the smell. “Smoking is responsible for about 400,000 deaths a year in the United States. The American Cancer Society estimates that cigarette smoking is responsible for 88% of the lung cancer deaths among women”(Henderson 74). Smoking is also associated with cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, pancreas, cervix, kidney and bladder.
Smoking is a major cause of heart disease and is associated with conditions ranging from colds and gastric ulcers to chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and cerebrovascular disease. More than 2000 chemical compounds have been identified in processed tobacco, among them, three classes of carcinogens. In 1998 the Surgeon General released a report on nicotine addiction concluding that cigarettes and other forms of tobacco are addictive, that nicotine is the drug that causes addiction, and that cigarette addiction is similar to the addiction of such drugs as heroin and cocaine.
In 1989 the surgeon generals report found that prevalence of smoking in the Untied States decreased from 40% in 1965 to 29% in 1987 adult male smokers dropped from 42% of the population to 32% of the population, while women smokers dropped from 32% to 27%”(Winawer 122-125). It is estimated that as of 1990 there were 38 million ex-smokers and 50 million smokers. Smoking rates are still higher among blacks, blue collar people, and less educated people. Children are also starting to smoke at earlier ages.
Some children are starting as early as middle school, most start in Junior high if there going to start, at an early ge. In the United States, more than 3,000 teenagers became regular smokers everyday. In 1990 the Surgeon General released a report showing that people who quit smoking, regardless of age, live longer than people who continue to smoke. In fact, Fifteen to 20 years after quitting, the risk of lung cancer is about that of a person who never smoked. Cigarette smoking is unquestionably the major identified cause of human cancer, accounting for nearly one third of all cancer deaths.
Since lung cancer is the most frequent lethal cancer in the United States, accounting for pproximately 25% of all cancer deaths, it follows that a substantial fraction of total cancer mortality could be prevented by eliminating tobacco induced lung cancer. The risk of developing lung cancer depends on both the extent and duration of smoking. The mortality rate from lung cancer among heavy smokers, two or more packs a day, is about 20 times greater than for non-smokers. The next best thing to the prevention of cancer is early detection. The importance of early detection is due to the progressive nature of the tumor development.
Prior to metastsis, most cancers can be cured by localized reatments, such as surgery or radiotherapy. Early detection is also critical to the outcome of the disease. If the earliest stages of cancer could be prevented, often by the comparatively minor treatment, more lung cancer patients would have a better chance of surviving the cancer. Steps taken to detect early stages of a tumor development are referred to as secondary treatment and prevention. For some types of cancer, such as lung cancer, regular visits to the doctor is a way of detecting it early.
After nearly 20 years of practicing medicine at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, Dr. Diane Stover still shakes her head and ponders that question every time she prepares to tell a patient he or she has lung cancer”(Cooper 117). The lungs are the primary component of the respiratory system, occupying most of the cavity and flanking the media stinum, the chamber that houses the heart. A thin two ply membrane, the pleura, envelopes each lung, an organ made of millions of tiny air sacs, giving it the appearance of spongy, pinkish-gray tissue laced with an intricate network of blood vessels.
The left lung is divided into sections; the slightly, larger right lung, into three. When you inhale, air travels through the nasal and oral passages into the throat, through the larynx and the trachea, or windpipe, and into the lungs by way of two tubes called the bronchi. These in turn feed the bronchioles and culminate in the alveoli; the diaphragm, a dome shaped muscle bordering the underside of both lungs, contracts rhythmically and enables them to expand. During exhalation the diaphragm shifts black into place, deflating the lungs and forcing air outward.
In the lungs oxygen is exchanged for carbon dioxide and other waste gases through the thin walls of the capillaries and the alveoli, like most other unctions of the human body, respiration is a remarkably complex, finely balanced process. Lung cancer develops when a carcinogen, be it asbestos, radon, cigarette smoke or some other initiator, damages a cell’s DNA. Half of all lung tumors contain a defective tumor suppressor gene, called p53 by molecular biologists, that permits uninhibited cell growth.
Lung cancer rarely produces symptoms until it is well entrenched in the lung. By that time it may have metastasized to other parts of the body. Fatigue, the most frequently seen sign, is often shrugged off and not considered a serious roblem. The same is true of another common warning, coughing, which is caused by an irritation of the bronchial lining or a tumor blocking an air passage. Many smokers are so used to hacking and wheezing, they dismiss this as “smoker’s cough” and neglect to see a doctor at this stage.
Because fewer than one in five lung cancers are detected early, the disease frequently runs a deadly coarse. Complicating matters, notes Dr. Stover, ‘Most of these patients have underlying chronic obstructive pulmonary disease from smoking,’ which limits therapy options”(Winawer 23). The longer a erson goes with out tobacco, the more the lungs will heal themselves. Eventually the risk of pulmonary cancer will approach that of a non-smoker. The way you diet can also affect your health greatly.
A number of human studies have examined fruits and vegetables possible protective effective against lung cancer in smokers and non-smokers. One theory hold that vitamins C, E and beta-carotene, all anti oxidants, demobilized and eliminate the free-radical molecules that can impair lung-cell DNA and promote tumor growth. More research is needed though, to pinpoint just which of there are many itamins and nutrients could possibly lower risk. How many fruits and vegetables reduce the risk of lung cancer?
After seeing how much damage smoking can cause, you would think this world would not even manufacture tobacco products. But people are so addicted to the nicotine, they cannot make themselves quit smoking, even if it would mean saving their lives. They have made smoking a habit a very bad habit that is hard for them to quit that habit. The smart smokers do quit, but the less fortunate ones keep on smoking. Smokers should realize they are not just hurting themselves but everyone around them.