Cigarette smoking causes lung cancer. We've heard this before, right? But have most people ever stopped to really understand the social significance, not to mention the potential personal significance of this often-used cliche?  

Quoted excerpts are from "Lung Cancer Staging: Clinical and Radiologic Perspectives," Seminars in Interventional Radiology, vol. 30, no. 2; 2013; pp. 99-113. 

"Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer related death in both men and women in the United States, and it accounts for more deaths than breast, prostate, colon, rectal, and pancreatic cancer combined. The five-year survival rate for primary lung cancer is 16%, compared with 65%, 90%, and 99% for colon, breast, and prostate cancer, respectively."

"Lung cancer is the most common cancer in men worldwide with an age standardized rate of 33.8 per 100,000, and it is the fourth most frequent cancer in women (13.5 per 100,000). "

"Lung cancer has been the leading cause of cancer deaths among men since the early 1950s, and in 1987 it surpassed breast cancer to become the leading cause of cancer deaths among women in the United States."

"Lung cancer accounts for more deaths than any other cancer in both men and women."

"The 1 year relative survival rate for lung cancer increased from 35% in 1975-79 to 42% in 1988-2008. The overall five-year survival rate for lung cancer of all stages was 16.8% in 2004."

"Cigarette smoking is by far the most important risk factor in the development of lung cancer. It is estimated that approximately 90% of lung cancer deaths in men and 75 to 80% of lung cancer deaths in women in the United States each year are caused by smoking."

"Although 80 to 90% of lung cancers occur in tobacco smokers, only 10 to 15% of chronic smokers develop lung cancer. Smokers with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease have up to a sixfold increased risk of lung cancer relative to smokers with normal lung function."

"The US EPA has determined radon to be the second leading cause of lung cancer after cigarette smoking."

"A 24% excess lung cancer risk has been shown in non-smokers who have lived with a smoking spouse."

"The risk of developing a second lung cancer in patients who survive lung tumor resection is approximately 1 to 2% per patient per year for non-small cell lung cancer and 6% for small cell lung cancer." In other words, once you've had one lung cancer, chances are elevated that you'll be getting another one.

"Approximately 80% of persons in United States that use tobacco begin before the age of 18 years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed data from the national youth risk behavior survey found that although students cigarette smoking rates declined from 43% in the late 1990s to 26% in 2007, this rate of decline slowed from 2007 to 2011, and currently rest of 23.4%.

Between 1965 and 2004, cigarette smoking in adults 18 years and older decreased by half from 42% to 21%. Since 2004, the previous declines in smoking prevalence have stalled and, in 2010, 19% of US adults were current cigarette smokers."

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Summary:

Smoking causes lung cancer in 10-15% of smokers.  

Smoking causes lung cancer in 24% of non-smokers who have lived with a smoking spouse. 

If you are a smoker, and you are comfortable with a 10-15% risk of dying younger than you otherwise might, please continue smoking.  

If you are a smoker, and you are comfortable with a 24% risk of killing your spouse due to your smoking addiction, please continue smoking. 

If you are a smoker, and felt an emotional response to the two previous sentences, please contact your physician and discuss smoking cessation methods as well as lung cancer screening with low dose CT.  Your life and the lives of your loved ones depend on it.

This is not a public service message. It is a please help yourself and your loved ones message. Thank you for reading.