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Difficult to Diagnose: November Marks Lung Cancer Awareness Month

News Release 



November 13, 2006                                         Contact:Victoria Tedeschi

Public Relations Specialist

Adventist Midwest Health



Difficult to Diagnose: November Marks

Lung Cancer Awareness Month

Hinsdale, IL – In 2005, lung cancer was the leading cause of cancer deaths, according to the American Cancer Society. It is estimated that in 2006, lung cancer will kill more people than breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, liver cancer, kidney cancer and melanoma combined.

            November is Lung Cancer Awareness month, which provides an opportunity to talk about prevention, said Elyse Schneiderman, M.D., a hematology oncologist who treats patients at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital and Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital. “More Americans die of lung cancer than any other cancer,” Schneiderman said.

            Lung cancer can be difficult to diagnose, added Mary Zinn, M.D., a pulmonologist who treats patients at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital and Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital. “It’s a silent disease,” she said. “Often by the time lung cancer is diagnosed, it has spread beyond the point of a cure.”

However, there are things people can do to lessen their risk, both Schneiderman and Zinn agreed. The first key to prevention is to avoid smoking or stop smoking for those who do. “Approximately 87 percent of lung cancer is smoking related,” Zinn said. “Getting people to stop smoking is the single most important measure in preventing lung cancer.”

Individuals at high risk for developing lung cancer include long-time smokers both those who are still smoking or have quit; individuals who have been exposed to asbestos or radon; those who have been exposed to prolonged second-hand smoke; and possibly those with a family history of lung cancer, said Michael Quaranta, regional director of radiology and oncology for the Adventist Cancer Network.

“All the above are risk factors and can influence an individual’s chance of developing lung cancer,” Quaranta said. “The problem has been that by the time lung cancer is found, it is usually in a fairly advanced stage.”

By the time, lung cancer symptoms, which may include a chronic cough, blood when coughing or a persistent cold appears, it typically means the cancer is in an advanced stage. Recent research studies have focused on whether it is beneficial to perform a CT screening on high-risk patients on an annual basis, Quaranta added.

This year’s Great American Smoke-Out, a national day to encourage people to quit smoking, is scheduled for Nov. 16. Start the New Year right by joining a smoking cessation class offered at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital. Classes begin in January 2007. For information, about classes call 630-856-7525.  For information about other tobacco cessation strategies, call 800-ACS-2345 or visit