Worldwide, lung cancer is the second most common cancer after breast cancer with 2.21 million cases recorded and responsible for 1.8 million deaths.
Although lung cancer is common, there are many misconceptions about it in the society. Here is a list of lung cancer myths compiled by Dr. Fred R. Hirsch, executive director of the Center of Excellence for Thoracic Oncology at the Tisch Cancer Institute in Mount Sinai, New York. as follows.
1) Only smokers get lung cancer.
According to the CDC, about 10-20 percent of people diagnosed with lung cancer in the United States have never smoked fewer than 100 cigarettes in their lifetime.
2) Only elderly people get lung cancer.
Although most people over the age of 65 are diagnosed with lung cancer, today younger people under the age of 50 are suffering from the disease, especially women.
3) Living in a polluted city is worse than smoking for lung cancer risk.
It is difficult to compare pollution with smoking. Living in polluted cities is certainly a risk factor, but no one can say for sure whether it is worse than using tobacco products or whether a combination of the two can affect lung health.
4) I have been smoking continuously for years, nothing can happen now
Smoking significantly reduces the risk of lung cancer. It also reduces the risk of other diseases including heart diseases like osteoporosis and diabetes.
5) If you have lung cancer, stop smoking.
This is not true, along with the many benefits of quitting smoking, the diagnosis of lung cancer stages in a patient becomes better and easier.
6) Lung cancer surgery spreads the cancer.
Surgery does not spread lung cancer, in fact surgery can cure the cancer if done at an early stage.
7) If I had lung cancer, I would have symptoms.
Not always, lung cancer can be detected in completely asymptomatic cases or even in people with minor respiratory symptoms.
8) The only risk factor for lung cancer is smoking.
Smoking is probably the most common cause of lung cancer, but it is hardly the only one. Other risk factors include a family history of lung cancer, air pollution, exposure to chest radiation, and long-term lung disease.