Should smokers feel "safer" because even some non-smokers get lung cancer?

Joined: November 13th, 2008, 2:04 pm

January 30th, 2009, 4:45 pm #1

                             
From: Joel  (Original Message) Sent: 8/10/2005 6:54 AM
                       
There are times when non-smoking people get diagnosed with lung cancer and it seems to cause some smokers to think that the news somehow makes smoking seem less dangerous. The concept is ludicrous.            

Not all people who cause auto accidents are drunk drivers. There are people who fall asleep at the wheel from being over tired. There are people who have heart attacks while driving. There are people who swerve to hit an obstacle in the road like a deer or other kind of animal. Some of these people are perfectly sober and yet, end up in an accident that may kill or injure others.            
         
There are some children who are killed in auto accidents even though they were properly strapped into a seat belt or even in a child seat. The parent in fact did everything right and still, circumstances happen where the child is still killed in an accident.            
         
Now that you know that not all people who cause auto accidents are drunk, and that some kids who are killed in auto accidents were in fact properly secured in the car before the accident, would you allow your child to get into a car with an obviously drunk driver and on top of that, tell your child not to bother to put on a seat belt?            

Of course you wouldn't for while there is always a risk of something going wrong beyond your control in protecting your children, that realization does not cause you to throw away taking all reasonable precautions to protect them.            

Not all lung cancers are caused by smoking. It is pretty well accepted though that over 85% of lung cancers are caused by smoking. The best step that any person can take to minimize their risk of ever contracting lung cancer is still making and sticking to a personal commitment to never take another puff.            
         
Joel            
           
         
       
     
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Joined: November 13th, 2008, 2:04 pm

January 30th, 2009, 4:47 pm #2

From: Joel Sent: 11/15/2005 9:40 AM
I saw that yesterday a national news station did a report about non-smokers who get lung cancer. It is true that non-smokers sometimes get lung cancer, but as this post talks about, that fact should not give any smoker any idea that quitting smoking isn't necessary.

If anything, it should make smokers more worried, considering that it is estimated that smoking is responsible for somewhere between 80% to 90% of all lung cancer deaths, so that everytime you hear of a non-smoker getting lung cancer, understand, that means there are almost ten smokers who got the disease at that same time. The relative risk varies by the amount smoked--the more a person smokes the greater the risk. There are other factors that are possible risk factors for lung cancer, but none of them come close to causing the number of cases resulting from smoking.

Here is the fact sheet from the American Cancer Society that talks about different risk factors for lung cancer:
Overview: Lung Cancer
What Causes Lung Cancer?
A risk factor is anything that increases a person's chance of getting a disease such as cancer. Different cancers have different risk factors. Some risk factors, such as smoking, can be controlled. Others, like a person's age or family history, can't be changed. Several factors can increase the risk of lung cancer.

Smoking is by far the leading risk factor for lung cancer. Tobacco smoke causes more than 8 out of 10 cases of lung cancer. The longer a person has been smoking and the more packs per day smoked, the greater the risk. If a person stops smoking before lung cancer develops, the lung tissue slowly returns to normal. Stopping smoking at any age lowers the risk of lung cancer.

Cigar and pipe smoking are almost as likely to cause lung cancer as is cigarette smoking. There is no evidence that smoking low tar cigarettes reduces the risk of lung cancer.

People who don't smoke but who breathe the smoke of others also have a higher risk of lung cancer. Non-smoking spouses of smokers, for example, have a 30% greater risk of developing lung cancer than do spouses of nonsmokers. Workers exposed to tobacco smoke in the workplace are also more likely to get lung cancer.

Hookah smoking has become popular among young people. Although there is less tobacco in the product used for hookahs, it is still dangerous and addictive. The ACS believes that people should avoid any amount of tobacco.

Asbestos is another risk factor for lung cancer. People who work with asbestos have a higher risk of getting lung cancer. If they smoke as well, the risk is greatly increased. Although asbestos was used for many years, the government has now nearly stopped its use in the workplace and in home products. While it is still present in many buildings, it is not thought to be harmful as long as it is not released into the air.

Another type of cancer linked to asbestos (mesothelioma) can start in the lining of the lung. The American Cancer Society has information about this type of cancer through our toll-free number or on our Web site.

Radon is a radioactive gas made by the natural breakdown of uranium, which is found at higher than normal levels in the soil in some parts of the US. Radon can't be seen, tasted, or smelled. Radon can become concentrated indoors and create a possible risk for cancer. Smokers are especially sensitive to the effects of radon. State and local offices of the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) can provide information about how to test for radon in the home.

High radon levels in some mines can increase the lung cancer risk for miners.

Cancer-causing agents in the workplace include the following:
  • uranium
  • arsenic
  • vinyl
  • chloride
  • nickel chromates
  • coal products
  • mustard gas
  • chloromethyl ethers
  • gasoline
  • diesel exhaust
People who work with these substances should be very careful to avoid exposure as much as possible.

Marijuana cigarettes have more tar than regular cigarettes. Many of the cancer-causing substances in tobacco are also found in marijuana. Marijuana is also inhaled very deeply and the smoke is held in the lungs for a long time.

Medical reports suggest that marijuana could cause cancers of the mouth and throat. But because marijuana is an illegal substance it is not easy to gather information about its effects on the body.

Radiation treatment to the lung: People who have had radiation to the chest to treat cancer are at higher risk for lung cancer, especially if they smoke.

Other diseases such as tuberculosis (TB) and some types of pneumonia often leave scars on the lung. This scarring can increase the risk of developing lung cancer.People with diseases from breathing in certain minerals also have a higher risk of lung cancer.

Personal and family history: If you have had lung cancer, you have a higher risk of getting another lung cancer. Brothers, sisters, and children of people who have had lung cancer may have a slightly higher risk themselves.

Diet: Some reports suggest that a diet low in fruits and vegetables might increase the risk of lung cancer in people who are exposed to tobacco smoke. It may turn out that fruits and vegetables help protect against lung cancer.

Air pollution: In some cities, air pollution may slightly increase the risk of lung cancer. But the risk is still far less than that caused by smoking.

During the past few years, scientists have made great progress in understanding how risk factors produce certain changes in the DNA of lung cells, causing the cells to become cancerous. DNA is the genetic material that carries the instructions for nearly everything our cells do.

Current research in this field is aimed at developing tests that can find lung cancers at an early stage by spotting DNA changes. But these tests are not yet ready for routine use. Therefore, doctors stress avoiding tobacco smoke and the other risk factors listed above.

Revised: 01/01/2005
From: Joel Sent: 3/7/2006 8:42 AM
I originally wrote this string when the media announced that Dana Reeves was diagnosed with lung cancer. I just heard that she passed away. I suspect there will once again be coverage about how non-smokers also get stricken by the disease.

Again, from above:

I saw that yesterday a national news station did a report about non-smokers who get lung cancer. It is true that non-smokers sometimes get lung cancer, but as this post talks about, that fact should not give any smoker any idea that quitting smoking isn't necessary.

If anything, it should make smokers more worried, considering that it is estimated that smoking is responsible for somewhere between 80% to 90% of all lung cancer deaths, so that everytime you hear of a non-smoker getting lung cancer, understand, that means there are almost ten smokers who got the disease at that same time. The relative risk varies by the amount smoked--the more a person smokes the greater the risk. There are other factors that are possible risk factors for lung cancer, but none of them come close to causing the number of cases resulting from smoking.

Here is the fact sheet from the American Cancer Society that talks about different risk factors for lung cancer:
Overview: Lung Cancer
What Causes Lung Cancer?
A risk factor is anything that increases a person's chance of getting a disease such as cancer. Different cancers have different risk factors. Some risk factors, such as smoking, can be controlled. Others, like a person's age or family history, can't be changed. Several factors can increase the risk of lung cancer.

Smoking is by far the leading risk factor for lung cancer. Tobacco smoke causes more than 8 out of 10 cases of lung cancer. The longer a person has been smoking and the more packs per day smoked, the greater the risk. If a person stops smoking before lung cancer develops, the lung tissue slowly returns to normal. Stopping smoking at any age lowers the risk of lung cancer.

Cigar and pipe smoking are almost as likely to cause lung cancer as is cigarette smoking. There is no evidence that smoking low tar cigarettes reduces the risk of lung cancer.

People who don't smoke but who breathe the smoke of others also have a higher risk of lung cancer. Non-smoking spouses of smokers, for example, have a 30% greater risk of developing lung cancer than do spouses of nonsmokers. Workers exposed to tobacco smoke in the workplace are also more likely to get lung cancer.

Hookah smoking has become popular among young people. Although there is less tobacco in the product used for hookahs, it is still dangerous and addictive. The ACS believes that people should avoid any amount of tobacco.

Asbestos is another risk factor for lung cancer. People who work with asbestos have a higher risk of getting lung cancer. If they smoke as well, the risk is greatly increased. Although asbestos was used for many years, the government has now nearly stopped its use in the workplace and in home products. While it is still present in many buildings, it is not thought to be harmful as long as it is not released into the air.

Another type of cancer linked to asbestos (mesothelioma) can start in the lining of the lung. The American Cancer Society has information about this type of cancer through our toll-free number or on our Web site.

Radon is a radioactive gas made by the natural breakdown of uranium, which is found at higher than normal levels in the soil in some parts of the US. Radon can't be seen, tasted, or smelled. Radon can become concentrated indoors and create a possible risk for cancer. Smokers are especially sensitive to the effects of radon. State and local offices of the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) can provide information about how to test for radon in the home.

High radon levels in some mines can increase the lung cancer risk for miners.

Cancer-causing agents in the workplace include the following:
  • uranium
  • arsenic
  • vinyl
  • chloride
  • nickel chromates
  • coal products
  • mustard gas
  • chloromethyl ethers
  • gasoline
  • diesel exhaust
People who work with these substances should be very careful to avoid exposure as much as possible.

Marijuana cigarettes have more tar than regular cigarettes. Many of the cancer-causing substances in tobacco are also found in marijuana. Marijuana is also inhaled very deeply and the smoke is held in the lungs for a long time.

Medical reports suggest that marijuana could cause cancers of the mouth and throat. But because marijuana is an illegal substance it is not easy to gather information about its effects on the body.

Radiation treatment to the lung: People who have had radiation to the chest to treat cancer are at higher risk for lung cancer, especially if they smoke.

Other diseases such as tuberculosis (TB) and some types of pneumonia often leave scars on the lung. This scarring can increase the risk of developing lung cancer.People with diseases from breathing in certain minerals also have a higher risk of lung cancer.

Personal and family history: If you have had lung cancer, you have a higher risk of getting another lung cancer. Brothers, sisters, and children of people who have had lung cancer may have a slightly higher risk themselves.

Diet: Some reports suggest that a diet low in fruits and vegetables might increase the risk of lung cancer in people who are exposed to tobacco smoke. It may turn out that fruits and vegetables help protect against lung cancer.

Air pollution: In some cities, air pollution may slightly increase the risk of lung cancer. But the risk is still far less than that caused by smoking.

During the past few years, scientists have made great progress in understanding how risk factors produce certain changes in the DNA of lung cells, causing the cells to become cancerous. DNA is the genetic material that carries the instructions for nearly everything our cells do.

Current research in this field is aimed at developing tests that can find lung cancers at an early stage by spotting DNA changes. But these tests are not yet ready for routine use. Therefore, doctors stress avoiding tobacco smoke and the other risk factors listed above.

Revised: 01/01/2005

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Joined: November 13th, 2008, 2:04 pm

January 30th, 2009, 4:49 pm #3

From: nancy999 Sent: 3/8/2006 1:03 PM
Thank you for bringing this post to the top!!! I needed it today!!

As a recent "ex-smoker" and a proclaimed nicotine addict - it seemed like everyone wanted to talk about this subject with me today. I will always welcome the chance to educate my smoking brothers and sisters.

The first tough conversation I had was with my mom. She's dying of lung cancer (has about a month left), still smokes and has said just about everything I have read on this board - "when it's your day, it's your day". blah blah. She's 80 years old and there is simply no educating her at this point. My goal is to simply love and learn from her mistake. However, I mention this because in all the justifications she spouted to me about her still smoking, she told me in equal numbers how happy and proud she is that I quit. Hmmm - it's interesting hear that addiction talking and then hear her talking. Never would have noticed it before this website.

The second, third, etc. conversations I had were - you might have guessed it - with smokers. "See, smoking didn't do it", "when you're time's up", etc. It made me sad to see so many addicts try to justify their addiction. So I printed out this post and one that describes the other damage smoking does and used them to quote from - thought they were going to buy me a pulpit in the smoking section. I am hoping it will have at least one person interested enough to lurk onto this site.

I thought about what a couragous woman Dana Reeves was, and then I thought it was really sad that the TV would end up debating whether smoking really causes lung cancer since non-smokers die from it (UGH). They should have taken the opportunity to educate the world - and I'm sure Dana would have been happy if it just made one person stop smoking - because that's the type of woman she was regardless of smoking status - just a great human always willing to reach out and help.

Nancy NTAP!!!
One week, four days, 16 hours, 22 minutes and 33 seconds. 292 cigarettes not smoked, saving $70.68. Life saved: 1 day, 20 minutes.
From: Joel Sent: 3/8/2006 1:36 PM
Young or old, if a famous non-smoker dies of lung cancer the media usually goes on to clarify that the person never smoked. Now think about it, what celebrity names come to mind of non-smokers who died of lung cancer.

I just went online to find a list of famous people who have died from lung cancer. I am attaching the list I found below. I recognize one name on this list as being a non-smoker--Andy Kaufman.

It is possible there were others too, but I somehow doubt there were many of them. It basically comes down to the fact that for every non-smoker who gets the disease, there are probably ten smokers who die from the disease. If anyone wants to they can probably look up every name and see who was a non-smoker. I suspect they won't come up with many.

One more important point. Most people who die from smoking, don't die from lung cancer from smoking. More smokers die prematurely from cardiovascular diseases caused by smoking than die from lung cancer caused by smoking. Throw in other cancers and other respiratory diseases caused by smoking and the list becomes even more extensive.

Famous people who died from Lung Cancer

Peter Jennings, 67, ABC anchorman, Aug. 7.

Renaldo "Obie" Benson, 69, member of the Four Tops, July 1.

Alan King, 76, comedian, 2004.

Ann Miller, 81, dancer and actress, 2004.

Warren Zevon, 56, singer-songwriter, 2003.

Stephen Ambrose, 66, author-historian, 2002.

Rosemary Clooney, 74, singer, 2002.

Etta Jones, 72 , jazz singer, 2001.

Nancy Marchand, 71, actress in "The Sopranos" and "Lou Grant," 2000.

Cal Ripken Sr., 63, baseball coach, 1999.

Joe DiMaggio, 84, baseball great, 1999.

Carl Wilson, 51, Beach Boys guitarist, 1998.

Robert Mitchum, 79, actor, 1997.

Audrey Meadows, 70, Alice Kramden in "The Honeymooners," 1996.

Melina Mercouri, 68, actress best known for "Never on Sunday," 1994.

Vincent Price, 82, actor, 1993.

Pat Nixon, 81, wife of former President Richard Nixon, 1993.

Eddie Kendricks, 52, one of the original Temptations,1992.

Chuck Connors, 71, "The Rifleman," 1992.

Bert Parks, 77, master of ceremonies for the Miss America pageant,1992.

Lee Remick, 55, actress, 1991.

Sarah Vaughan, 76, jazz singer, 1990.

Louis L'Amour, 80, western writer, 1988.

Raymond Carver, 50, short story writer, 1988.

Erskine Caldwell, 83, writer, 1987:

Robert Preston, 68, best known as "The Music Man,"1987:

Desi Arnaz, 69, Lucille Ball's husband and co-star,1986.

Forrest Tucker, 67, actor on "F Troop" TV series,1986.

Alan Jay Lerner, 67, composer, with Frederick Loewe, for musicals "My Fair Lady," "Camelot" and "Paint Your Wagon,"1986.

Yul Brynner, 65, actor, 1985.

Andy Kaufman, 35, comedian-actor,1984.

Jesse Owens, 66, Olympic gold medal winner in track.1980.

Duke Ellington, 75, jazz great-bandleader, 1974.

Agnes Moorehead, 73, actress, 1974.

Robert Taylor, 57, actor, 1969.

Buster Keaton, 70, comedian-actor-director, 1966.

Edward R. Murrow, 57, CBS newscaster, 1965.

Nat King Cole, 47, singer, 1965.

Dashiel Hammett, 65, writer, 1961.
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